Converging media a new introduction to mass communication [Fifth edition] 9780190271510, 0190271515

The changing media landscape. Mass communication and its digital Transformation -- Media literacy in the digital age --

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Table of contents :
Cover......Page 1
Half Title Page......Page 2
Title Page......Page 4
Copyright......Page 5
Dedication......Page 6
Brief Contents......Page 7
Contents......Page 8
Features......Page 20
Preface......Page 23
Converging Media, Fifth Edition: An Updated Introduction to Mass Communication......Page 24
Changes to the Fifth Edition......Page 26
How the Book Is Organized......Page 27
Acknowledgments......Page 29
About the Authors......Page 34
1. Mass Communication and Its Digital Transformation......Page 38
Telephony: Case Study in Convergence......Page 39
Three Types of Convergence......Page 42
MEDIA PIONEERS: Steve Jobs......Page 45
Implications of Convergence......Page 47
MEDIA CONTENT......Page 49
MEDIA USE......Page 51
CONVERGENCE CULTURE: User-Generated Content: Creativity or Piracy?......Page 54
ETHICS IN MEDIA: Interactively Mapping Gun Owners......Page 57
Television: The Future of Convergence......Page 66
2. Media Literacy in the Digital Age......Page 72
Education and Media......Page 73
What Is Media Literacy?......Page 74
SEMIOTICS......Page 75
FRAMING......Page 77
Early Concerns of Media Effects......Page 78
PRINT MEDIA......Page 79
Implications of Commercial Media......Page 82
MEDIA PIONEERS: Marshall McLuhan......Page 83
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Mobile Telephony in the Developing World......Page 85
Media Bias......Page 88
Developing Critical Media-Literacy Skills......Page 91
3. Print Media: BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAGAZINES......Page 98
Distinctive Functions of Books......Page 100
Dime Novels......Page 103
Print-on-Demand......Page 104
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Global Ebook Marketplace......Page 105
Current Book-Industry Issues......Page 106
Sales and Readership of Books......Page 107
Outlook for Books......Page 109
History of Newspapers to Today......Page 111
Current Newspaper-Industry Issues......Page 114
Benefits of Chains......Page 115
Sales and Readership of Newspapers......Page 116
ADVERTISING......Page 119
CONVERGENCE CULTURE: FREESHEETS: Freesheets: Riding the Rails of Newspapers’ Future?......Page 120
Outlook for Newspapers......Page 121
Distinctive Functions of Magazines......Page 122
History of Magazines to Today......Page 124
Sales and Readership of Magazines......Page 125
Outlook for Magazines......Page 126
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 128
MEDIA MATTERS......Page 129
4. Audio Media: MUSIC RECORDINGS, RADIO......Page 132
Distinctive Functions of the Recording Industry......Page 133
History of Recorded Music......Page 134
The Recording Industry Today......Page 137
MEDIA PIONEERS: Amanda Palmer......Page 139
CREATION......Page 140
DISTRIBUTION......Page 141
What Is Broadcasting?......Page 144
History of Radio......Page 145
ETHICS IN MEDIA: Mashed-Up and Mixed-Up Musical Ethics......Page 146
The Radio Industry Today......Page 152
Outlook for the Radio Industry......Page 153
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 156
5. Visual Media: PHOTOGRAPHY, MOVIES, AND TELEVISION......Page 160
Movies......Page 162
History of the Movie Industry......Page 163
ETHICS IN MEDIA: The Photojournalist’s Dilemma: Immersion in Conflict......Page 165
SOUND AND COLOR......Page 166
Walt Disney......Page 168
Louis B. Mayer......Page 169
Movie Industry Today......Page 174
MEDIA PIONEERS: Kathleen Kennedy......Page 176
Marketing and Distribution for Movies......Page 177
Outlook for the Movie Industry......Page 178
Television......Page 179
CONVERGENCE CULTURE: 3-D Movies: What Will Be the Impact?......Page 180
Cable Comes of Age......Page 183
Filling the Nights......Page 184
Sports......Page 185
Reality Shows......Page 186
CABLE TV......Page 188
Television-Industry Business Model......Page 191
Outlook for the Television Industry......Page 192
Interactivity Defined......Page 197
Interactive Media Versus Mass Media......Page 198
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: The Internet of Babel......Page 199
Computer Mouse......Page 201
Historical Development of the Internet and the World Wide Web......Page 203
Video Games......Page 208
Historical Development of Video Games......Page 209
MEDIA PIONEERS: Super Mario......Page 211
Types of Video Games......Page 212
Video-Game Industry......Page 215
CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Is Playing Video Games Bad for You?......Page 216
Trends in Video Games......Page 217
Gamification......Page 218
Augmented Reality......Page 219
Ethics of Interactive Media......Page 220
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 221
7. The Impact of Social Media......Page 226
Defining Social Media......Page 227
CONVERSATION......Page 232
CURATION......Page 233
Types of Social Media......Page 235
EMAIL......Page 236
CHAT ROOMS......Page 238
WIKIS......Page 240
MEDIA PIONEERS: Jack Dorsey......Page 241
CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Are We Really Separated by Six Degrees?......Page 246
Producers and Produsers......Page 247
PRIVACY......Page 250
TRANSPARENCY......Page 252
ETHICS IN MEDIA: CYBERBULLYING: Cyberbullying: New Twists on an Old Problem......Page 254
What Is News?......Page 263
Joseph Pulitzer......Page 268
MEDIA PIONEERS: Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Ida B. Wells......Page 267
Changes in Television News......Page 270
From Event to Public Eye: How News Is Created......Page 274
CONVERGENCE......Page 286
The Business of Journalism......Page 287
SALARIES......Page 288
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 289
9. Advertising and Public Relations: THE POWER OF PERSUASION......Page 294
Strategic Communications......Page 296
Commercial Television......Page 301
Internet......Page 302
MEDIA PIONEERS: Madam C. J. Walker......Page 300
Electronic Media......Page 307
Outdoor......Page 308
Cookies......Page 309
Classifieds and Auction Sites......Page 310
Mobile Advertising......Page 311
Native Advertising......Page 312
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Hair-Raising Subway Billboard Ad Gets Noticed......Page 315
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 325
10. Media Ethics......Page 330
Ethics, Morals, and Laws......Page 331
The Golden Rule......Page 332
DUTIES......Page 333
Discourse Ethics......Page 334
CONSEQUENCES......Page 335
Social Justice......Page 336
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Mistaken Identity: One Life Lost, Another Ruined......Page 338
Dialogical Ethics in Action......Page 339
Issues in Ethical Decision Making......Page 341
Role of Commercialism in Media Ethics......Page 343
Ethics in Public Relations......Page 350
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 354
MEDIA MATTERS......Page 355
11. Communication Law and Regulation in the Digital Age......Page 358
The Legal Framework......Page 359
The Foundations of Freedom of Expression......Page 360
Prior Restraint......Page 362
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964)......Page 363
Shield Laws......Page 364
MEDIA PIONEERS: Anthony Lewis......Page 365
The Censorship of Comics......Page 366
The Hays Code......Page 367
Indecent Content......Page 368
Obscenity......Page 369
EARLY DAYS AND THE RADIO ACT OF 1912 (1911–1926)......Page 370
CONVERGENCE CULTURE: The Great Network Neutrality Debate......Page 373
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)......Page 374
Regulating Commercial and Political Speech......Page 376
Unclear Regulatory Boundaries......Page 378
Fairness Doctrine......Page 379
Intellectual Property Rights......Page 381
Privacy......Page 383
Legal Issues in the Digital World......Page 384
PRIVACY......Page 386
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 387
12. Media Theory and Research......Page 392
Role of Theory and Research......Page 393
Media-Effects Research......Page 394
PAYNE FUND......Page 395
Cultivation Analysis......Page 398
Third-Person Effect......Page 400
Uses and Gratifications......Page 402
Reception Analysis......Page 403
FRAMING......Page 404
MEDIA PIONEERS: danah boyd......Page 406
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Theories Old, Theories New, Theories Borrowed . . .......Page 409
AGENDA SETTING......Page 410
New Directions in Media Research......Page 411
ETHICS IN MEDIA: Advertising’s Negative Effects on the Sexes......Page 412
Media Research: What Type of Science Is It?......Page 413
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 417
13. Mass Communication and Politics in the Digital Age......Page 422
Journalism and Political Coverage......Page 423
OPINION POLLS......Page 426
Political Advertising......Page 428
ETHICS IN MEDIA: Can Imagery Lead to Action?......Page 430
Social Media and Political Campaigns......Page 433
CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Image Is Everything......Page 434
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Crowdsourcing Election Monitoring......Page 437
SMART MOBS......Page 439
Political Polarization and Media Habits......Page 440
MEDIA PIONEERS: Bill Adair......Page 441
14. Global Media in the Digital Age......Page 446
SOVIET THEORY......Page 450
The Public, the Public Sphere, and Public Opinion......Page 451
CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Through a PRISM of Global Surveillance......Page 454
Global Media, Local Values......Page 458
MEDIA PIONEERS: Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim......Page 461
A Neighbo(u)ring Nation......Page 464
MEDIA CAREERS......Page 467
Glossary......Page 472
Notes......Page 480
Credits......Page 491
Index......Page 493
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Media Fifth Edition

A New Introduction to

Mass Communication

John V. Pavlik Rutgers University

Shawn McIntosh

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

New York

Ox ford


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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford New York Auckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan Poland Portugal Singapore South Korea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ukraine Vietnam For titles covered by Section 112 of the US Higher Education Opportunity Act, please visit for the latest information about pricing and alternate formats. Copyright © 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011 by Oxford University Press Published by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016 Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Pavlik, John V. (John Vernon)   Converging media : a new introduction to mass communication / John V. Pavlik, Rutgers University ; Shawn McIntosh, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. -- Fifth edition.    pages cm   Includes bibliographical references and index.   ISBN 978-0-19-027151-0 1.  Mass media. 2.  Digital media. 3.  Internet.  I. McIntosh, Shawn. II. Title.   P90.P3553 2016  302.23--dc23               2015028062 Printing number: 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper

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To my wife, Jackie, and my daughters, Tristan and Orianna —J.V.P.

To my parents, Dennis and Kathie —S.M.

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Brief Contents PREFACE xxii ABOUT THE AUTHORS xxxiii part one

1 2

Mass Communication and Its Digital Transformation  3 Media Literacy in the Digital Age  37

part two

3 4 5 6

7 8 9

medi a perspectives

The Impact of Social Media  191 Journalism: From Information to Participation  227 Advertising and Public Relations: The Power of Persuasion  259

part four

M a ss- CO mmunic ation form ats

Print Media: Books, Newspapers, and Magazines  63 Audio Media: Music Recordings, Radio  97 Visual Media: Photography, Movies, and Television  125 Interactive Media: The Internet, Video Games, and Augmented Reality  161

part three

t h e c h a n g in g medi a l a ndsc a pe

medi a a nd society

Media Ethics  295 11 Communication Law and Regulation in the Digital Age  323 12 Media Theory and Research  357 13 Mass Communication and Politics in the Digital Age  387 14 Global Media in the Digital Age  411



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Contents PREFACE xxii ABOUT THE AUTHORS xxxiii part one

t h e c h a n g in g medi a l a ndsc a pe

1 Mass Communication and Its Digital Transformation  3 Telephony: Case Study in Convergence  4

Correlation 27 Cultural Transmission  27 Entertainment 27

Three Types of Convergence  7 Technological Convergence  8 Economic Convergence  9 Cultural Convergence  11

Theories of Communication  28 Transmission Models  28 Critical Theory and Cultural Studies  30

Implications of Convergence  12 Media Organization  13 Media Type  14 Media Content  14 Media Use  16 Media Distribution  18 Media Audience  18 Media Profession  20 Attitudes and Values  20

Television: The Future of Convergence  31 Looking Back and Moving Forward  33 Media Matters  34 Further Reading 34


Mass Communication in the Digital Age  23 Interpersonal Communication  23 Mass Communication  24 Mass Communication and Convergence  25

CONVERGENCE CULTURE: User-Generated Content: Creativity or Piracy? 19 ETHICS IN MEDIA: Interactively Mapping Gun

Functions of Mass Communication  26

Owners 22

Surveillance 26

2 Media Literacy in the Digital Age  37 Education and Media  38 What Is Media Literacy?  39

What Makes Mediated Communication Different?  40 Semiotics 40 Framing 42 vii

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Early Concerns of Media Effects  43

media matters  60

Media Grammar  44


Print Media  44 Radio and Recorded Music  45 Film and Television  46 Digital-Media Grammar  47

Implications of Commercial Media  47 Commercial-Media Debate  49 Concentration of Media Ownership  51

Media Bias  53

Features MEDIA PIONEERS: Marshall McLuhan  48 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Mobile Telephony in the Developing World  50 ETHICS IN MEDIA: When Media Report Rape Allegations 55 CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Dos and Don’ts When

Developing Critical Media-Literacy Skills  56

Evaluating Online Information  57


part two

m a ss- communic ation form ats

3 Print Media: Books, Newspapers, and Magazines  63 Functions of Print Media  64 Transmission of Culture  64 Diffusion of Ideas and Knowledge  64 Entertainment 65

Distinctive Functions of Books  65 History of Books to Today  66 Monastic Scribes  66 Johannes Gutenberg  67 Beginnings of Mass Communication and Mass Literacy  68 Cheaper and Smaller Books  68 Dime Novels  68 Mass-Market Paperbacks  69 Print-on-Demand 69 Ebooks 70

Local Newspapers  75 National Newspapers  75

History of Newspapers to Today  76 The Commercial Press and the Partisan Press  77 Colonial Readership and Finances  77 The Golden Age of Newspapers  77

Current Newspaper-Industry Issues  79 Newspaper Chains  80 Benefits of Chains  80 Problems with Chains  81 Leading Newspaper Chains  81 Declining Number of Daily Newspapers  81

Sales and Readership of Newspapers  81 Circulation and Readership  84 Advertising 84

Current Book-Industry Issues  71

Outlook for Newspapers  86

Sales and Readership of Books  72

Distinctive Functions of Magazines  87

Outlook for Books  74

History of Magazines to Today  89

Distinctive Functions of Newspapers  75

Current Magazine-Industry Issues  90

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Sales and Readership of Magazines  90

CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Freesheets: Riding the Rails

Outlook for Magazines  91

of Newspapers’ Future?  85

Media Careers  93


MEDIA PIONEERS: Ruben Salazar  87


Features INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Global Ebook Marketplace 70

4 Audio Media: Music Recordings, Radio  97 The Recording Industry  98 Distinctive Functions of the Recording Industry  98 History of Recorded Music  99 From Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood  100 Roots of Rock and Roll  100 Redefining Rock  101

The Recording Industry Today  102 Recording-Industry Business Model  105 Creation 105 Promotion 106 Distribution 106 Pricing Structure  107

FM Radio, Edwin Howard Armstrong, and David Sarnoff 114 Creating a Viable Business Model for Radio  115 The Rise of Radio Networks  115 Consolidation In Radio Station Ownership  116

The Radio Industry Today  117 Radio Station Programming  118 Outlook for the Radio Industry  118 Podcasting 120 Satellite Radio  120 Media Careers  121 Looking Back And Moving Forward  122 Media Matters  123 Further Reading  123

Outlook for the Recording Industry  107 Digital Rights Management and Illegal File Sharing 107 New Business Models Emerging  108

What Is Broadcasting?  109 Radio 110

Features MEDIA PIONEERS: Amanda Palmer  104 ETHICS IN MEDIA: MashED-up and Mixed-up Musical Ethics 111 CONVERGENCE CULTURE: NPR and PRI: America’s

Distinctive Functions of Radio  110

Public Radio Networks  116

History of Radio  110


Wireless Telegraphy  112 Exploring Radio’s Early Potential  112 Voice Transmission  112 Radio Before, During, and After WWI  113 Widespread Public Adoption of Radio  114

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of the Airwaves  121

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5 Visual Media: Photography, Movies, and Television  125 Photography 126 History of Photography  126 Photographic Industry Today  127

Movies 127 History of the Movie Industry  128 Silent Era: New Medium, New Technologies, New Storytelling  129 Méliès and Griffith  130 Murnau, Flaherty, and Eisenstein  131 Sound and Color  131 Hollywood Movie Moguls  133 Warner Brothers  133 Walt Disney  133 Samuel Goldwyn  134 Marcus Loew  134 Louis B. Mayer  134 Hollywood Star System  135 The Director as Auteur  135 Technological Influences on Movie Genres  136 Other Entertainment Sources for Movies  137 DVDs and Streaming  138

Programming and Genre Influences  147 Pushing the Programming Envelope  148 Cable Comes of Age  148 Filling the Days  149 Filling the Nights  149 Sports 150 Reality Shows  151 Digital Television: Preparing the Way for Convergence 152 The Rise of Flat-Panel Displays  152

Television Distribution  153 Broadcast TV  153 Cable TV  153 Satellite TV  154

Television Industry Today  154 Cable System Structure  154 Satellite Versus Cable  155

Television-Industry Business Model  156 Outlook for the Television Industry  157 Media Careers  158

Movie Industry Today  139


Marketing and Distribution for Movies  142


Movie-Industry Business Model  143 Outlook for the Movie Industry  143

media matters  159

Features ETHICS IN MEDIA: The Photojournalist’s Dilemma:

Television 144

Immersion in Conflict  130

History of Television  146

MEDIA PIONEERS: Kathleen Kennedy  141

Seeing the Light: The First Television Systems  146 Modern Television Takes Shape  146

CONVERGENCE CULTURE: 3-D Movies: What Will Be the Impact? 145

6 Interactive Media: The Internet, Video Games, and Augmented Reality  161 Interactivity Defined  162 Interactive Media Versus Mass Media  163

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Historical Development of User Interfaces 165 Television Interfaces  165

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Video-Game Industry  180

Intuitive Interfaces  166 Keyboards 166 Computer Mouse  166 Touch Screens  167 Natural Input Methods  167 Graphical User Interfaces  167

Trends in Video Games  182 Gamification 183 Augmented Reality  184

Historical Development of the Internet and the World Wide Web  168 Internet Protocol  169 World Wide Web  170 Graphical Web Browsers  170 Broadband 171 Distribution Dynamics  171



Video Games  173


Historical Development of Video Games 174


Types of Video Games  177



FOR YOU?  181


7 The Impact of Social Media  191 Defining Social Media  192 Dialogic Commmunication  193 Social Production  195

What Is “Social” About Social Media?  197 Choice 197 Conversation 197 Curation 198 Creation 199 Collaboration 199

Types of Social Media  200 Email 201 Discussion Boards and Web Forums  202 Chat Rooms  203 Blogs and Microblogs  204 Wikis 205 Social-Networking Sites  207

Producers and Produsers  212 Reputation, Ratings, and Trust  214 Privacy 215 Transparency 217

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Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly  218 Are Social Media Making Us Less Social?  218 Are Social Media Making Us Dumber?  220 MEDIA CAREERS  222 LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD  222 MEDIA MATTERS  224 FURTHER READING  224


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8 Journalism: From Information to Participation  227 What Is News?  228 The Historical Development of Journalism 230 News Values and the Associated Press  230 Pulitzer and Hearst: The Circulation Wars, Sensationalism, and Standards  231 Joseph Pulitzer  233 William Randolph Hearst  234 The Rise of Electronic Journalism  234 Murrow and News in TV’s Golden Age  235 Changes in Television News  235

Foundations of Journalism  236 The Hutchins Commission and A Free and Responsible Press  236 Separation of Editorial and Business Operations  237 Fairness and Balance in News Coverage  237 Framing the News  238 Expert Sources  238

From Event to Public Eye: How News Is Created  239 Gathering the News  240 Producing the News  240 Distributing the News  242

Types of Journalism  243 Alternative Journalism  243 Public Journalism  244

Citizen Journalism  245 An International Perspective  246

Journalism in the Digital World  248 Nontraditional Sources  248 Online User Habits  250 Personalization 251 Contextualization 251 Convergence 251

The Business of Journalism  252 Salaries 253 Diversity in the Newsroom  254 Media Careers  254 Looking Back And Moving Forward  255 Media Matters  256 Further Reading  256

Features MEDIA PIONEERS: Mary Ann Shadd Cary and IDA B. WELLS  232 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Covering Islam  238 CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Platypus Journalism: The Future, or Evolutionary Dead End?  241 ETHICS IN MEDIA: Maintaining Standards in the Digital Age  252

9 Advertising and Public Relations: The Power of Persuasion  259 Strategic Communications  261 Persuasive Communications  262 The Role of Media in Persuasion  263

Advertising 264 The Historical Development of Advertising  264 Advertising Agencies  266 Commercial Television  266 Internet 267 The Rise of Branding  268

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Selling Products, Selling Ideas  271 Advertising Channels  271 Print Media  272 Electronic Media  272 Outdoor 273 Direct Mail  274 Advertising in a Digital World  274 Cookies 274 Email Marketing  275 Banner Ads  275

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Pop-Ups and Video  275 Classifieds and Auction Sites  275 Search-Engine Ads  276 Mobile Advertising  276 Behavioral Advertising  277 Viral Marketing  277 Native Advertising  277 The Advertising Business  278 Advertising Agencies  279

Public Relations  282 The Historical Development of Public Relations  282 Trends in the Development of Public Relations  284 PR and Media Relations  285 Pseudo-Events 286 Distributing News to the Media in the Digital Age  286 Finding Sources Online  286 PR Firms and the PR Industry  286






10 Media Ethics  295 Ethics, Morals, and Laws  296 Major Systems of Ethical Reasoning  297 Character, or Virtue Ethics  297 The Golden Rule  297 The Golden Mean  298 Virtue Ethics in Action  298 Duties 298 The Categorical Imperative  299 Discourse Ethics  299 Duties-Based Ethics in Action  300 Consequences 300 Utilitarianism 301 Social Justice  301 Consequence-Based Ethics in Action  302 Relationships, or Dialogical Ethics  302 Ethics of Care  303 Dialogical Ethics in Action  304 Moral Relativism  305

Ethics in Journalism  310 Privacy Rights Versus the Public’s Right to Know  310 Going Undercover  311 Victimizing the Victims  311 Misrepresentation and Plagiarism  312 Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics  312

Ethical Issues in Advertising  313 Deceptive Advertising  313 Puffery 314 Conflicts of Interest in Advertising  314 Advertising Codes of Ethics  314

Ethics in Public Relations  315 Conflicts of Interest in PR  316 Public Relations Codes of Ethics  317

Ethics in Entertainment  318 Stereotypes in Entertainment  318 Sex and Violence  319

Issues in Ethical Decision Making  306


Role of Commercialism in Media Ethics  308


Media Types Influencing Content  309

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Features INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Mistaken Identity: One

CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Forbidden Fruit  315 MEDIA PIONEERS: Kalle Lasn  316

Life Lost, Another Ruined  303

11 Communication Law and Regulation in the Digital Age  323 The Legal Framework  324 The Foundations of Freedom of Expression 325 National Security  326 Clear and Present Danger  327 Prior Restraint  327 Libel 328 New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964)  328 Protecting Journalists Against Libel  329 Shield Laws  329 Censorship 331 The Censorship of Comics  331 The Hays Code  332 Indecent Content  333 Obscenity 334 Criticism, Ridicule, or Humor  335

Regulating Electronic Media  335 Early Days and the Radio Act of 1912 (1911–1926)  335 Increasing Regulation and the Federal Radio Commission (1927–1933)  336 The Communications Act and Spectrum Scarcity (1934–1995) 336 The Telecommunications Act and the Internet (1996–Present) 337 International Electronic Media Regulation  338

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  339 Universal Service  340 The FCC, License Renewal, and Regulatory Power  340 Spectrum Auction  341

Political Speech  344 Equal-Time Rule  344 Fairness Doctrine  344

Children’s Programming Protections  345 The Children’s Television Act  345 Violent and Sexual Programming: The V-Chip  346

Intellectual Property Rights  346 Fair Use  348

Privacy 348 Legal Issues in the Digital World  349 Digital Rights Management  350 Privacy 351 Content Rights and Responsibilities  352 Media Careers  352 LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD  353 MEDIA MATTERS  354 FURTHER READING  354

Features MEDIA PIONEERS: ANTHONY LEWIS  330 CONVERGENCE CULTURE: The Great Network Neutrality Debate  338 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: The Rise and Fall of Russian Media  339 ETHICS IN MEDIA: Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?  350

Regulating Commercial and Political Speech 341 Commercial Speech  342 Tobacco, Alcohol, and Marijuana Advertising  343 Unclear Regulatory Boundaries  343

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12 Media Theory and Research  357 Role of Theory and Research  358 Mass Society, Mass Communication  359 Media-Effects Research  359 Propaganda and the Magic Bullet  360 Payne Fund  360 Radio’s Wider Impact  361 Television and Violence  362 Limited Effects  363 Cultivation Analysis  363 Spiral of Silence  365 Third-Person Effect  365 Criticisms of Media-Effects Research  366

Understanding the Audience  367 Audiences Creating Meaning  367 Uses and Gratifications  367 Encoding/Decoding 368 Reception Analysis  368 Framing 369

Cultural Studies  370 Ideology and the Culture Industry  370 Criticisms of Cultural Studies  372

Sociohistorical Frameworks  372 Information Society  372 Political Economy  373

Media Ecology  374 Agenda Setting  375

New Directions in Media Research  376 Media Research: What Type of Science Is It?  378 Quantitative Research  380 Qualitative Research  380 Qualitative and Quantitative Research Working Together  382 Media Careers  382 LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD  383 MEDIA MATTERS  384 FURTHER READING  384

Features CONVERGENCE CULTURE: How Free Is Academic Freedom?  364 MEDIA PIONEERS: danah boyd 371 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Theories Old, Theories New, Theories Borrowed . . .   374 ETHICS IN MEDIA: Advertising’s Negative Effects on the Sexes  377

13 Mass Communication and Politics in the Digital Age  387 Journalism and Political Coverage  388 Politicians Using the News  390 Sound Bites and Horse Races  390 The Changing Tone of Television Political Coverage 391 Opinion Polls  391

Political Advertising  393 Impact of Negative Advertising  394 Effectiveness of Negative Advertising  394

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Politics and Entertainment  396 Political Campaigns and Entertainment  396 Political Debates  397

Social Media and Political Campaigns  398 Changes with Social Media  400 Changing Rules for Politicians  401

Social Media and Civic Engagement  403 Databases and Government Transparency  403 Smart Mobs  404

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Political Polarization and Media Habits  405


Media Careers  407

Election Monitoring  402


MEDIA PIONEERS: Bill Adair  406


Features ETHICS IN MEDIA: Can Imagery Lead to Action?  395 CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Image Is Everything  399

14 Global Media in the Digital Age  411 Four Theories of International Mass Communication 413 Authoritarian Theory  413 Libertarian Theory  413 Social Responsibility Theory  414 Soviet Theory  415

The Public, the Public Sphere, and Public Opinion  416 Political and Socioeconomic Issues with Global Media  418 Media in Developing Countries  418 Searching for Truth: Self-Censorship in China  420 The Digital Divide  422

Global Media, Local Values  423 New Worlds—or Cultural Imperialism?  424 Convergence and Its Discontents  425 Globalization of Media Production  427 Global Media Flow  428

Protecting Local Voices  429 Some Developing Nations  429 A Neighbo(u)ring Nation  429 Promoting Global Voices  430 Cybersecurity and Media  431 Media Careers  432 LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD  433 MEDIA MATTERS  434 FURTHER READING  434

Features ETHICS IN MEDIA: J-Ethinomics—Teaching Ethics and Economics in Journalism  414 CONVERGENCE CULTURE: Through a PRISM of Global Surveillance 419 MEDIA PIONEERS: Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim  426


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ACEJMC Learning GoalS


Converging Media provides extensive content on the twelve core values and competencies of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). As a nationally elected member of the ACEJMC from 2004 to 2007, John V. Pavlik recognized that the ACEJMC-based learning goals provide a useful benchmark for assessing student learning. By covering the twelve core values and competencies, this text provides a strong foundation for students to become well-rounded journalists and experts in mass communication.

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ACEJMC Learning Goals

How Converging Media Supports

1. FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located, as well as receive instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the rights to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances.

• Regulation of journalism and mass communication in the digital age including libel and censorship (p. 328, 349) • Fairness (p. 344) • The public’s right to know (p. 310) • Media systems around the world (p. 418)

2. HISTORY: Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications.

• Origins of photography, movies, television, and video games (p. 126, 128, 146) • History of journalism (p. 230) • History of advertising (p. 264) • History of public relations (p. 282) • History of media law and the regulation of electronic media (p. 325) • Early research on media effects (p. 359) • History of recorded music and radio (p. 99, 112) • History of print media (books, newspapers, magazines) (p. 66, 76, 89) • History of the Internet (p. 168)

3. GENDER, RACE, AND SEXUALITY: Demonstrate an understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications.

• Effects of media and advertising on women and men (p. 377) • Role of women in the history of newspapers (p. 232) • Diversity in the newsroom (p. 254) • Minority newspapers (p. 232, 254)

4. GLOBAL SOCIETY: Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society.

• Relationships among various global and local media sources (p. 424) • Cultural and socioeconomic impact of global media (p. 426) • “International Perspectives” boxes throughout (example, p. 70) • International theories of the press (p. 413) • Media in a global society appears as a theme in several chapters

5. THEORY: Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information.

• • • •

Photography, movies, and television (p. 135, 147) Grammar of media (p. 44) Information overload in the digital age (p. 218) Major media theories and research (p. 359, 370, 376)

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ACEJMC Learning GoalS

ACEJMC Learning Goals

How Converging Media Supports

6. ETHICS: Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness, and diversity.

• “Ethics in Media” boxes throughout (example, p. 55) • Chapter on media ethics, including accuracy and the pursuit of truth (p. 295) • Chapter on communication law and regulation in the digital age (p. 323) • Fairness and diversity (p. 318)

7. CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKING: Think critically, creatively, and independently.

• “Convergence Culture” boxes throughout (example, p. 211) • “Media Matters” at end of chapters (example, p. 34) • Discussion Questions throughout • Critical-Thinking Questions in selected image captions (example, p. 335) • Foundations for critically examining media presented early in the text (example, p. 39)

8. RESEARCH: Conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work.

• Chapter on media theory and research teaches students to evaluate research methods and findings (p. 378)

9. WRITING ABILITY: Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences, and purposes they serve.

• Appropriate writing style for particular media and for the communities and purposes that media professionals serve (p. 243) • Importance of clear and accurate writing in news creation (p. 240)

10. EVALUATION OF WORK: Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style, and grammatical correctness.

• Media Matters and Critical Thinking Questions throughout the text encourage self-reflection in the form of spoken and written responses while promoting group discussion and peer evaluation of work.

11. NUMERICAL AND STATISTICAL CONCEPTS: Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.

• Data for students to analyze about newspaper circulation and readership and advertising impact (p. 84) • Pricing structure of the recording industry (p. 106) • Figures and tables throughout apply numerical and statistical concepts (example, p. 73) • “US Media Giants” (pullout at the back of the book)

12. TECHNOLOGY: Apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work.

• Social media (p. 191) • Interactive media (p. 161) • Role of mobile media, such as the iPad, in delivering video (p. 183) • Mobile media and digital books (p. 74) • Impact of touch screens on human–computer interface (p. 165) • Use of digital technology in journalism (p. 248) • Impact of digital technology and mobile media on advertising (p. 274)

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User-Generated Content: Creativity or Piracy? (Chapter 1) p. 19 Dos and Don’ts When Evaluating Online Information (Chapter 2) p. 57 Freesheets: Riding the Rails of Newspapers’ Future? (Chapter 3) p. 85 NPR and PRI: America’s Public Radio Networks (Chapter 4) p. 116 3-D Movies: What Will Be the Impact? (Chapter 5) p. 145 Is Playing Video Games Bad for You? (Chapter 6) p. 181 Are We Really Separated by Six Degrees? (Chapter 7) p. 211 Platypus Journalism: The Future, or Evolutionary Dead End? (Chapter 8) p. 241 MMORPG, FPS—and IGA (Chapter 9) p. 270 Forbidden Fruit (Chapter 10) p. 315 The Great Network Neutrality Debate (Chapter 11) p. 338 How Free Is Academic Freedom? (Chapter 12) p. 364 Image Is Everything (Chapter 13) p. 399 Through a PRISM of Global Surveillance (Chapter 14) p. 419 INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES

Crying in a BMW (Chapter 1) p. 11 Mobile Telephony in the Developing World (Chapter 2) p. 50 Global Ebook Marketplace (Chapter 3) p. 70 Trusting in the Power of the Airwaves (Chapter 4) p. 121 The Internet of Babel (Chapter 6) p. 164 Social Networks of Influential Languages (Chapter 7) p. 201 Covering Islam (Chapter 8) p. 238 Hair-Raising Subway Billboard Ad Gets Noticed (Chapter 9) p. 280 Mistaken Identity: One Life Lost, Another Ruined (Chapter 10) p. 303 The Rise and Fall of Russian Media (Chapter 11) p. 339 Theories Old, Theories New, Theories Borrowed . . . (Chapter 12) p. 374 Crowdsourcing Election Monitoring (Chapter 13) p. 402 ETHICS IN MEDIA

Interactively Mapping Gun Owners (Chapter 1) p. 22 When Media Report Rape Allegations (Chapter 2) p. 55 Mashed-Up and Mixed-Up Musical Ethics (Chapter 4) p. 111 The Photojournalist’s Dilemma: Immersion in Conflict (Chapter 5) p. 130 Cyberbullying: New Twists on an Old Problem (Chapter 7) p. 219 Maintaining Standards in the Digital Age (Chapter 8) p. 252 Fooling Most of the People Most of the Time . . . Digitally (Chapter 9) p. 288

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Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? (Chapter 11) p. 350 Advertising’s Negative Effects on the Sexes (Chapter 12) p. 377 Can Imagery Lead to Action? (Chapter 13) p. 395 J-Ethinomics—Teaching Ethics and Economics in Journalism (Chapter 14) p. 414 MEDIA PIONEERS

Steve Jobs (Chapter 1) p. 10 Marshall McLuhan (Chapter 2) p. 48 Ruben Salazar (Chapter 3) p. 87 Amanda Palmer (Chapter 4) p. 104 Kathleen Kennedy (Chapter 5) p. 141 Super Mario (Chapter 6) p. 176 Jack Dorsey (Chapter 7) p. 206 Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Ida B. Wells (Chapter 8) p. 232 Madam C. J. Walker (Chapter 9) p. 265 Doris E. Fleischman (Chapter 9) p. 284 Kalle Lasn (Chapter 10) p. 316 Anthony Lewis (Chapter 11) p. 330 danah boyd (Chapter 12) p. 371 Bill Adair (Chapter 13) p. 406 Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim (Chapter 14) p. 426 TIMELINES

History (and Pre-history) of Newspapers (Chapter 3) p. 78 Milestones in Early Radio-Technology Development (Chapter 4) p. 113 Development of Photography (Chapter 5) p. 128 Selected Milestones in Early Motion Pictures (Chapter 5) p. 132 Milestones in the Development of the Internet (Chapter 6) p. 168 Milestones in the Development of Video Games (Chapter 6) p. 174 Social-Networking Sites (Chapter 7) p. 208 TABLES

Table 1-1: Traditional Theories or Models of Analog Media p. 24 Table 2-1: Reframing Political Issues for Conservatives p. 42 Table 2-2: Reframing Political Issues for Liberals p. 43 Table 3-1: Top Ten U.S. Paid-Circulation Magazines p. 91 Table 3-2: Digital Issues a Significant Portion of Magazine Sales p. 92 Table 4-1: The Major Record Labels and Their Main Subsidiary Labels p. 103 Table 4-2: Most Popular Radio Programming Genres p. 119 Table 5-1: Ownership Among Major and Subsidiary Film Studios p. 140 Table 5-2: Top Multichannel Video-Programming Distributors in the United States, 2014 p. 155

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Table 6-1: Best-Selling Video Games (to 2014) p. 178 Table 7-1: Most Popular Social-Networking Sites p. 210 Table 8-1: Top Global News Sites p. 249 Table 9-1: Top Six U.S. Companies by Brand Valuations p. 269 Table 9-2: Share of Global Advertising Expenditure (%) p. 278 Table 9-3: World’s Five Largest Advertising and Media-Services Companies p. 281 Table 9-4: Top Five Independent Public Relations Firms p. 287 Table 13-1: 2012 Presidential Campaign Expenditures p. 393 FIGURES

Figure 1-1: Three Types of Convergence and Their Influence on Media p. 8 Figure 1-2: “Media Iceberg” p. 15 Figure 1-3: Average Consumer Download Speed by Country (2015) p. 17 Figure 1-4: Shannon and Weaver Mathematical Theory p. 28 Figure 1-5: Schramm–Osgood Model p. 29 Figure 2-1: Semiotic Signifier and Signified p. 41 Figure 3-1: Book Publishing Products and Services Segmentation p. 72 Figure 3-2: Book Publishing Industry Revenue Growth, 2009–2014 p. 73 Figure 3-3: Top 10 U.S. Newspapers by Circulation, in millions, 2014 p. 76 Figure 3-4: Major Newspaper Chains in the United States p. 82 Figure 3-5: Print Versus Online Ad Revenue (2003–2012) p. 85 Figure 3-6: Newspaper Print Ad Revenue Declines p. 86 Figure 6-1: Client/Server and Peer-to-Peer Networks p. 172 Figure 7-1: Social Media as a Pathway to News: Facebook Leads the Way p. 212 Figure 8-1: Salary Range for Journalists by Experience p. 253 Figure 9-1: Salaries for Advertising Account Managers by Experience p. 289 Figure 9-2: Salaries for Corporate PR Specialists by Experience p. 290 Figure 10-1: The Potter Box p. 307 Figure 13-1: Political Polarization and Media Habits p. 405 Figure 14-1: 2015 World Press Freedom Index p. 421 Figure 14-2: World Internet Users and Penetration Rates p. 423

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With the potential to strengthen or to undermine personal freedom, media convergence is a double-edged sword. Digital technologies, including mobile and social media, have empowered citizens to access, interact with, and generate content and stories around the world and on demand. In recent years, Twitter and similar services have helped citizens throughout the globe organize protests against government policy, oppressive regimes, and corporate malfeasance. At the same time, however, these powerful digital tools have enabled governments, corporations, and others to conduct sweeping surveillance of citizens and even international leaders around the world, as demonstrated by the epic Edward Snowden revelations and the more recent June 2015 WikiLeaks about the NSA spying on the last three French presidents. Privacy may be little more than a memory in an age when ubiquitous highdefinition cameras, big data analytics, and social media are generating massive databases with information on nearly every man, woman, and child around the globe. Even when we are not being spied on, we may be eagerly revealing too much about ourselves. As Alessandro Acquisti, professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, observed in a 2013 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl, “Most of us have fully identified, high-definition frontal photos of ourselves online.” On Facebook alone, users have posted billions of photos of themselves, their friends, and their relatives. And Facebook’s increasingly refined facial-recognition technology will continue to facilitate being tagged by friends and being tracked by those whose intentions may be less friendly. The existence of such vast repositories of data, valuable for security and commercial purposes (such as individually targeted advertising), raises concerns for civil liberties, particularly the right to privacy and freedom of speech. Another related issue involves who has the right to own and control this information, especially with telecommunications companies and Internet giants contributing to the NSA’s surveillance program. Meanwhile, the digitization of media and the convergence of media formats and industries proceed unabated. Research indicates that we now spend more time using digital devices than we do with any other medium, including television. Digital content is more likely to be viewed on a tablet or a smartphone than on a laptop or desktop computer. Digital distribution is now the dominant format for music, television, and radio, whether delivered terrestrially, by satellite, or via the Internet. Thanks to tablets and e-readers, the popularity of ebooks has surged. Following significant declines in print circulation, newspapers and magazines are experiencing growth in tablet, smartphone, and online distribution. Digital movies, television, and video-game distribution is now mainstream, with companies such as Netflix and Amazon producing and streaming their own original television shows. Tablets and other mobile devices are blurring the lines between Internet, movies, and television while allowing technology companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon to challenge traditional media distributors. Our engagement with media has also changed, becoming more active as mass and interpersonal communications converge. Anyone can broadcast a personal opinion on Twitter or via other social media; and increasingly, people do so while

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consuming traditional media such as television, posting comments and conversing about popular shows. Interactive media, especially video games, also constitute an increasingly popular form of entertainment. Convergence is a worldwide phenomenon today. The globalization of media industries and distribution has produced a cultural convergence that, at worst, smothers various local perspectives in a homogeneous Westernized culture and, at best, enables different local voices to be heard. Diverse cultural viewpoints have also begun to influence the content of new Hollywood blockbusters and other forms of Western media. Rarely has media usage so varied. Those who grew up in a pre-Internet era of mass communication may enjoy reading a printed newspaper over breakfast; digital natives may get their news from their Facebook feeds—if they get any news at all. The older group may have impressive collections of DVDs, CDs, and even vinyl; the younger group may trust the digital, online “cloud” with their favorite movies and music, accessible from any location or on their portable devices. One group may worry how increased product placement affects the type of shows produced; the other group may wonder what product placement is and why it matters. Some may feel that their romantic associations are nobody’s business; others may publicly announce their relationship status, posting that and much more personal information on social-networking sites. Interestingly, this media divide is often represented in the college classroom comprised of students who are digital natives and their professors who hail from an older mass-media tradition. Yet, just like the media discussed in this book, the two parties can converge, often across generations, to enrich their understanding of where media have been, where they are today, and where they are going. Each group can—and should—learn from the other. Convergence is creating the kind of mass communication that audiences have long desired, tools that increase control over what they watch, read, or listen to and increase the ability to share their stories and their lives with others. But with that greater power comes greater responsibility and a greater need for us to understand how our media work and how they may affect our society and political systems. A double-edged sword does indeed cut both ways; which way it cuts depends largely on who is wielding it and how.

Converging Media, Fifth Edition: An Updated Introduction to Mass Communication Change is a constant in the mass-communication industry, and in recent years this transformation has rocketed forward with surprising speed. Students are changing. The field is changing. The world is changing. Yet these changes go largely unnoticed in most textbooks. An introductory textbook should provide a foundation of knowledge for students learning a new field. But when the foundation sits on a bed of shifting sand, the introduction needs to be revised continually. Converging Media: A New Introduction to Mass Communication embraces the metamorphosis of today’s mass-communication system and examines the changes even as it prepares students for what comes tomorrow. This book represents the beginning of a third wave in mass-communication textbooks, building on the earlier waves of case studies and critical-cultural approaches. This new approach demands a more balanced and nuanced understanding of the role that technology and digital media have played in our mass-communication environment.

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The fifth edition of Converging Media follows the class-tested formula of the previous edition by offering • A Fresh Perspective. Through the lens of convergence, our book shows

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how different aspects of media are parts of a whole and how they influence each other. Digital media are not relegated to special features or an isolated chapter; they are integrated throughout every chapter. This better reflects the world as students live in it and prepares them to understand the changes that are taking place. This organization invites students and professors to engage in timely discussions of media within a larger framework of understanding traditional mass-communication topics. Comprehensive Coverage of Traditional Media. To understand the present, we have to study the past. We cover the development and historical influences of print and electronic media and the issues these media face today. The communication professions of journalism, advertising, and public relations are viewed from historical, societal, and career perspectives, giving students insights into how they interact and influence each other. Unique Coverage of Social Media. As the first introductory mass-­ communication textbook to devote a chapter to this emerging area, we place social media within a larger media and sociocultural context. Today’s popular social media tools are given a historical context and are connected thematically to older online communication tools. Social media are such an integral part of the media mix for so many people that they must be covered in an introductory course, not introduced in an upper-division media and technology course. Cutting-Edge Examples. We have chosen examples that are diverse, interesting, and up to date. We have written Converging Media with students always in mind—understanding the changing world they live in today. Taken from popular media that are familiar and relevant to undergraduates, the examples illustrate how the landscape of media has evolved—and is still evolving. Cultural Context. Mass communication, media technologies, and convergence take place firmly within a sociocultural milieu that simultaneously affects and is affected by these forces. Understanding this cultural context is vital for a complete grasp of convergence and today’s media environment. We emphasize the cultural influences and implications of media technologies while explaining how they work and how they were developed. Emphasis on Ethics. The book has a chapter devoted entirely to ethics ­(Chapter 10) and we continue to thread ethics-related discussions throughout other chapters, as appropriate (see Ethics in Media boxes). Students should learn that ethical considerations are tightly linked to a full understanding of mass communication and media. Ethics can also help guide us in the complex and often-confusing world of converging media, giving a basis for sound and humane decisions on media use, production, and new technologies. International Perspectives. A chapter on today’s global media environment (Chapter 14) provides a broad perspective on media in various countries and the social, economic, and cultural effects of media globalization overseas and domestically. In the remaining chapters, we also highlight international perspectives in feature boxes and in the text itself. Through comparisons and contrasts, students obtain an appreciation for different media systems throughout the world and how they work.

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Features for Students We have kept features limited and focused on a few key areas that foreground interesting and relevant aspects of the content discussed in the book. • Convergence Culture boxes showcase how media impact our social, politi-

• • • •

cal, and popular culture in sometimes-dramatic ways. Three are new to this edition, six updated. Media Pioneers boxes examine the careers of visionaries and leaders in the world of media both historically and in the contemporary scene. They feature individuals past and present who have made or are making media history. Subjects represent a diversity of past and present, media vocations, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds. This feature now appears in every chapter. Four are new to this edition, the rest updated. Ethics in Media boxes, appearing in select chapters, discuss timely issues related to ethical practices and issues in mass media. Three are new to this edition, five updated. International Perspectives boxes take a global perspective on chapter topics, showcasing how the use of media and technology and media industries are similar to or different from the U.S. context and why that is so. Two are new to this edition, six updated. Timelines, appearing in select chapters, provide a history, or even pre-­ history, of different media, such as newspapers, television, and social-­ networking site launches, giving the context for their development. Media Matters (formerly known as Media Quiz) encourage critical thinking about media-related topics. Chapter Opening Vignettes have been updated for currency where necessary, and seven have been completely revised and are new to this edition. Discussion Questions are now located throughout each chapter. Further Reading assignments round out each chapter.

Changes to the Fifth Edition This fifth edition has undergone several changes to keep pace with the rapidly evolving world of media. • Coverage of New Issues. Throughout the text, we have updated and ex-

panded coverage of critical topics, including the convergence of interpersonal communication and mass communication, gamification, augmented reality, cybersecurity, and the third screen. Noteworthy chapter-specific changes include • Chapter 1: Discussion of digital natives and digital immigrants. ­Expanded treatment of the digital divide. • Chapter 2: Addition of a Media Pioneers feature. Extended analysis of concept of balance in journalism. • Chapter 3: Updated research on book readership, publishing, and sales, particularly ebooks, self-publishing, and Amazon. Extended treatment of newspaper chain acquisitions and mergers. Expanded discussion of online news sites, including recent competition presented by social media and citizen journalism. New Media Pioneers box.

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• Chapter 4: Updated data on the record industry and radio programming.

Expanded discussion of revenues and podcasts. Substantial revision and updating of Media Pioneers box. • Chapter 5: Discussion of cord-cutters and cord-nevers. • Chapter 6: Updated data on the video-game industry. • Chapter 7: Updated discussion of Facebook, teen usage, and privacy norms. New timeline on social-networking sites, such as Instagram and Ello. • Chapter 8: Updated information on the latest transformations in journalism production and business models. • Chapter 9: Discussion of behavioral advertising and native advertising. Extended treatment of branding. New Media Pioneers feature. • Chapter 10: Expanded discussion of dialogic social media. Addition of a Media Pioneers feature. New section on misrepresentation and plagiarism. • Chapter 11: Expanded treatment of prior restraint and the First Amendment’s application to social media. New content on the legality and future of advertising recreational marijuana on electronic media. • Chapter 12: Updated and revised discussion of new directions in media research, along with the introduction of longitudinal and cross-sectional studies and random samples and sampling error. • Chapter 13: Updated discussion of political campaign expenditures. Extended treatment of “going viral” and memes. • Chapter 14: Updated discussion of the impact of social media on the public sphere, particularly concerns about cybersecurity. Expanded analysis of censorship in Asia and world press freedom in general. • Emphasis on Careers in Media. In addition to the Media Pioneers feature, which presents the contributions and career foundations of innovators and leaders who have influenced and continue to shape the world of media, a new Media Careers section has been added to the end of each chapter (with the exception of Chapter 1). In it, we discuss relevant traditional and emerging career paths in the industry, helping students appreciate the full range of possibilities in communications professions. • Discussion Questions. Formerly located at the end of each chapter, discussion questions that encourage critical thinking have been integrated throughout the chapter. • Further Reading. The fifth edition includes new sources in each chapter.

How the Book Is Organized Converging Media has the comprehensive mission of explaining not only the world of digital media and social media but also the basics of communication theory, ethics, and traditional mass-communication forms, while also assisting in the development of media-literacy skills. We do this using a class-tested, multipart structure.

Part 1: The Changing Media Landscape Chapter 1 not only explains the multifaceted nature of convergence (and disputes over its definition) but looks at theories of communication in general to see how the nature of mass communication is changing. Chapter 2 discusses media literacy, which helps meet students’ need for solid critical-thinking skills in the

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twenty-first century’s complex and fast-changing digital-media environment. Providing an early foundation in media literacy ensures that students will bring a critical perspective to the remainder of the book.

Part 2: Mass-Communication Formats Chapter 3 begins the exploration of traditional media with a discussion of the print industry and the digital dynamics to which it is now subject. Chapter 4 explores sound—namely, the recording industry and radio. The recording industry has of course been at the forefront of changes that digital media have brought to their industry through sharing of music files. Radio is increasingly facing questions about its role as people come to expect music on demand. There are also more options for bands to promote their music, such as in video games and on television shows. Chapter 5 looks at visual media—photography, movies, and television—and how each of these developed and influenced the ways that we see media. Photography is often ignored in books such as this but is an important aspect of the development of our media usage. Technological advances in photography not only led directly to motion pictures but increased the importance we place on visual media today. Chapter 6 explores how interactivity and user interface have played fundamental roles in the development of the Internet and video games. The chapter also discusses gamification as well as the promise and perils of augmented reality.

Part 3: Media Perspectives Chapters 7, 8, and 9 examine the way that digital and social media are changing traditional communication professions. Chapter 7 provides an overview of social media, which is allowing the public to talk back to media producers and companies. Users of social media can also band together and create entirely new projects outside the traditional media professions. Journalism, the subject of Chapter 8, is probably the field most threatened by the digital democratization of news reporting. Yet it remains an exciting field to enter, precisely because of the importance of social media and journalism to democracy. Advertising and public relations, the subjects of Chapter 9, also confront drastic changes as advertisers face more fragmented audiences with greater media choices than in the past and as consumers migrate to mobile media use.

Part 4: Media and Society Part 4 shows the broader social effects of media developments. Chapter 10 treats media ethics, with an in-depth discussion of the issues each profession faces. We explore the unique dilemmas raised by digital technologies, including threats to privacy. Chapter 11 explores legal and regulatory aspects of media, especially as related to the First Amendment. For students who are interested in better understanding media or who are considering a career in academia, Chapter 12 introduces some major media theories and presents different types of research and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Chapter 13 thoroughly examines politics and communication, an area that, in introductory books, is often confined to U.S. election coverage. Chapter 14, on global media, introduces the notions of the public sphere and public opinion and looks at the media’s role in democratic and nondemocratic countries throughout the world. The globalization of media ­

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technology, industry, and content highlights international issues, including the digital divide, cultural imperialism, and cybersecurity.

Supplements Adopters of the fifth edition of Converging Media will be pleased to know that Oxford University Press offers a comprehensive support package for both students and instructors, for all kinds of introductory mass-communication courses.

For Students • The Companion Website at offers a wealth of

study and review resources, including learning objectives, summaries, chapter quizzes, flashcards, activities, discussion questions, suggested reading, and links to a variety of media-related websites.

For Instructors • Ancillary Resource Center (ARC) at This conveni-

ent, instructor-focused website provides access to all of the up-to-date teaching resources for this text—at any time—while guaranteeing the security of grade-significant resources. In addition, it allows OUP to keep instructors informed when new content becomes available. The following items are available on the ARC: • The Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank provides sample syllabi, teaching tips, exercises, and test questions that will prove useful to both new and veteran instructors. The Instructor’s Manual includes chapter overviews, learning objectives, detailed chapter/lecture outlines, discussion topics, and suggested activities for each chapter. • The comprehensive Computerized Test Bank offers over eight hundred exam questions in multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay formats, with each item classified according to Bloom’s taxonomy and tagged to page and section references in the text, • Newly revised PowerPoint-based lecture slides highlight key concepts, terms and examples, and incorporate images from each chapter. With streamlined text, more visual support, and additional lecture tips in the notes section, these presentations are ready to use and fully editable to make preparing for class faster and easier than ever. • Course cartridges for a variety of Learning Management Systems, including Blackboard Learn, Canvas, and Moodle, allow instructors to create their own course websites integrating student and instructor resources available on the Ancillary Resource Center and Companion Website. Contact your Oxford University Press representative for access or for more information about these supplements or customized options.

Acknowledgments Creating a book such as this is very much a collaborative effort, and the authors have benefited greatly from the advice and wisdom not only of the reviewers but of those who adopted the first, second, third, and fourth editions of the book.

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These adopters sometimes had to work hard to persuade colleagues and departments that Converging Media was the text to use to introduce students to mass communication. We can only hope that the argument is easier to make with this fifth edition as we witness a growing number of books about media convergence in the market. We would also like to thank the adopters who wrote to us over the years asking when a revised edition would be published and who offered encouraging words about the usefulness of the book when there were still plenty of professors who were not convinced that a new approach to teaching mass communication was needed or who thought that only minor tweaks to curricula would do the trick. John Pavlik truly appreciates the love and support of his family, especially his wife, Jackie, and his daughters, Orianna and Tristan. Shawn McIntosh is similarly grateful for the love and support of his wife, Naren, and his son, Altan, who is growing up in this evolving media world as a digital native. We want especially to thank the editors at Oxford University Press with whom we worked: Toni Magyar, our editor; Maegan Sherlock, development editor; Marie La Vina and Paul Longo, editorial assistants; and David Jurman, marketing manager. They immediately understood and shared our vision of what this textbook should and could be to introductory mass-communication courses. Their insights and advice helped this book surpass our expectations. We also wish to thank­ Dr. Mary Ann McHugh, whose extensive editing and creative contributions have streamlined and updated much of the text. We are grateful for the fine job of ­Oxford’s production group: production manager, Lisa Grzan; production editor, Marianne Paul; and art director, Michele Laseau. The copyeditor, Deanna Hegle, also helped clarify, simplify, and improve the book. And last but certainly not least, we wish to thank the following reviewers for the detailed and insightful feedback on various parts of the book and instructor resources.

FIFTH EDITION REVIEWERS Amelia H. Arsenault, Georgia State University James Brancato, Cedar Crest College Scott Brown, California State University, Northridge Jennifer Fogel, State University of New York–Oswego Shari Hoppin, Troy University Jenn Mackay, Virginia Tech David Magolis, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Andrea McDonnell, Emmanuel College Andrew Nelson, Loyola University New Orleans Stephen Swanson, McLennan Community College

FOURTH EDITION REVIEWERS Joseph Abisaid, Monmouth College Nathan Atkinson, Georgia State University Jeff Boone, Angelo State University

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Pennie Boyett, Tarrant County College–Southeast Allison Butler, University of Massachusetts–Amherst Elizabeth B. Christian, University of New Haven Sara Drabik, Northern Kentucky University Mara Einstein, Queens College Jason Genovese, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Aimee Gillette, Howard Community College Meredith Guthrie, University of Pittsburgh Jeffrey B. Hedrick, Jacksonville State University Mark Hungerford, University of New Hampshire George Johnson, James Madison University Hume Johnson, Roger Williams University Tom Kelleher, University of Hawaii–Manoa Vincent Kiernan, Georgetown University Daekyung Kim, James Madison University Derek Lackaff, Elon University Ryan Lange, Alvernia University David Magolis, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Rick Marks, College of Southern Nevada Joy A. McDonald, Hampton University Meaghan Meachem, Lyndon State College Wendy Nelson, Palomar College Pamela O’Brien, Bowie State University Andrea Otanez, Everett Community College Eun-A Park, University of New Haven Richard D. Pineda, University of Texas–El Paso Hilary Russo, St. John’s University Jessie M. Quintero Johnson, University of Massachusetts–Boston CarrieLynn D. Reinhard, Dominican University Karen A. Ritzenhoff, Central Connecticut State University Kevin Tankersley, Baylor University Anita J. Turpin, Roanoke College Tammy R. Vigil, Boston University Justin Walden, Pennsylvania State University Jamie Ward, University of Michigan–Dearborn Matt Weidman, Widener University–Exton Ronald A. Yaros, University of Maryland–College Park

THIRD EDITION REVIEWERS Lonny J. Avi Brooks, California State University, East Bay Ovril Patricia Cambridge, Ohio University

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Skye Dent, Fayetteville State University Marie Dick, St. Cloud State University Paul Glover, Henderson State University Chandler Harriss, Alfred University Myleea D. Hill, Arkansas State University Hans Ibold, Indiana University Daekyung Kim, Idaho State University Viktoria Kreher, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Carole McNall, St. Bonaventure University Robert M. Ogles, Purdue University Ted Satterfield, Northwestern Oklahoma State University Lauren Reichart Smith, Auburn University Elyse Warford, Georgia State University Scott Winter, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

SECOND EDITION REVIEWERS Charles Apple, University of Michigan–Flint Charlyne Berens, University of Nebraska–Lincoln William R. Bettler, Hanover College Joseph S. Clark, Florida State University David Cundy, Iona College James Ettema, Northwestern University Michael Robert Evans, Indiana University Thom Gencarelli, Manhattan College Roger George, Bellevue College Donald G. Godfrey, Arizona State University David Gore, Eastern Michigan University Margot Hardenbergh, Fordham University Chandler Harriss, Alfred University Karima A. Haynes, Bowie State University Jeffrey B. Hedrick, Jacksonville State University Tamara Henry, American University Patricia Holmes, University of Louisiana–Lafayette Seok Kang, University of Texas–San Antonio Greg Lisby, Georgia State University John Madormo, North Central College Charles Marsh, University of Kansas Stephen J. McNeill, Kennesaw State University Olivia Miller, University of Memphis James E. Mueller, University of North Texas

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Robert M. Ogles, Purdue University Selene Phillips, University of Louisville Marshel D. Rossow, Minnesota State University–Mankato Ted Satterfield, Northwestern Oklahoma State University Randall K. Scott, University of Montevallo Brad Schultz, University of Mississippi Arthur L. Terry, Bethel University Mina Tsay, University of Kentucky

FIRST EDITION REVIEWERS Robert Bellamy, Duquesne University Gerald Boyer, Maryville University Mark Braun, Gustavus Adolphus College Margaret Cassidy, Adelphi University Steven Chappell, Truman State University Joseph Chuk, Kutztown University Vic Costello, Gardner-Webb University David Gordon, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire Charlotte Kwok Glaser, College of Notre Dame Colin Gromatzky, New Mexico State University Steven Keeler, Cayuga College Yasue Kuwahara, Northern Kentucky University Dianne Lamb, George Southern University Mitchell Land, University of North Texas Jeremy Harris Lipschultz, University of Nebraska–Omaha Arthur Lizie, Bridgewater State College John Lule, Lehigh University Thomas McPhail, University of Missouri Anthony Olorunnisola, Pennsylvania State University Kathleen Olson, Lehigh University Ronald Roat, University of Southern Indiana Marshel D. Rossow, Minnesota State University–Mankato Andris Straumanis, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire L. Lee Thomas, Doane College Max Utsler, University of Kansas

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About the Authors John V. Pavlik is a professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at

the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He is also faculty associate at the Columbia Institute for Tele-­ Information. Having published widely on the impact of new technology on journalism, media, and society, Pavlik has also authored more than a dozen computer software packages for education in journalism and mass communication. He is codeveloper of the situated documentary, a new type of digital storytelling using mobile augmented reality. He is former associate dean for research at Northwestern University in Qatar and a former senior fellow at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. He was the inaugural Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Media Studies in 2008 at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria. He received his PhD and MA in mass communication from the University of Minnesota and is a 1978 graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Shawn McIntosh is an assistant professor of digital journalism and communications in the Department of English/Communications at the Massachusetts College of ­Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts. He was a lecturer in strategic communication at Columbia University’s School of Continuing Education, where he taught graduate courses in theories of persuasion, communication ethics, and digital media, and was an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s School of Professional Studies, where he taught public affairs and research methods courses. He was an adjunct faculty member at Iona College, where he taught online journalism, website publishing, feature writing, and information visualization. McIntosh was an editor and freelance writer for ten years for various newspapers and magazines in the UK, the United States, and Japan. He has taught journalism and strategic communications in Latvia and Chile on Fulbright specialist awards. His research interests include social media, citizen journalism, and communication for social change. He received a BS in microbiology from the University of Idaho and an MS in journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 4 Telephony: Case Study in Convergence 7 Three Types of Convergence 12 Implications of Convergence 23 Mass Communication in the Digital Age 26 Functions of Mass Communication 28 Theories of Communication 31 Television: The Future of Convergence

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1 Mass Communication and Its Digital Transformation


crude Seth Rogen comedy seems an unlikely candidate to spark an international incident that became a cause célèbre for free speech, increased fears about cyberwarfare, and led to U.S. sanctions against North Korea, but that is exactly what happened in the final months of 2014 and into early 2015. This curious chain of events also highlights—­often u ­ nexpectedly—just how much digital media has transformed mass communication. North Korea was vocal in its displeasure about the planned Christmas Day release of the comedy The Interview in which Rogen and James Franco play a pair of celebrity tabloid-show producers chosen by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. On November 24, Sony Pictures, distributor of the film, learned that its computer systems had been hacked. In the days that followed, a string of embarrassing emails between executives and other sensitive corporate data, including early versions of screenplays and executive salaries, were leaked to the public. Sony and some cybersecurity experts, including those in the FBI, claim it was a North Korean group, while other experts remain doubtful. On December 17, Sony announced the cancellation of the theatrical release of The Interview after receiving threats that movie theaters showing it would be blown up, an executive decision widely criticized as a blow to free speech. Another movie studio scrapped plans to make another anti-North Korean movie, and Paramount refused to allow the rerelease of Team America: World Police, the 2004 comedic movie by the makers of South Park. It too made fun of North Korea, and some theaters also wanted it to show on Christmas Day. Less than a week later, Sony reversed itself and announced that The Interview would play in theaters that still supported this and be available for rent on ­video-on-demand (VOD). Just before New Year’s, several cable and satellite companies announced deals with Sony to show The Interview for pay-per-view, on iTunes, Xbox Video, YouTube Movies, Google Play, and other on-demand services, long


Define convergence.


Discuss the main types of convergence and their implications for communication.


Explain the eight major changes taking place in communication today because of convergence.


Define mass communication.


Describe the basic theories of mass communication.


Identify the basic components and functions of the masscommunication process.


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before the usual three-month window between theatrical releases and being shown on cable or DVD. Between December 24, 2014, and January 4, 2015, The Interview earned $31 million, making it Sony’s number one online film.1 Several ironies make this fiasco worthy of its own comedy feature film. First, it was not government that threatened free speech but corporate interests, ranging from Sony Pictures itself to theater owners who refused to show the movie. Second, the United States issued more sanctions against North Korea in early January, even though cybersecurity experts were still debating who was actually responsible for the hack. Third, it was revealed that even when confronted with a legacy of artificial constraints from an earlier mass-communications era, convergence will prevail, especially where the possibility exists to release a film originally intended for movie theaters on home entertainment gaming systems or iTunes. Finally, a comedy critically reviewed as mediocre at best attracted many more viewers—and generated more income—than it likely would have.

The media of mass communication have long played a fundamental role in people’s lives. The media inform, educate, persuade, entertain, and even—or perhaps ­especially—sell. Media can provide personal companionship and public scrutiny. They can shape perception on matters great and small. They can function in countless and increasing ways as extensions of one’s self. We will examine the nature of mass communication and how it is changing in the digital and social media age in a global village connected by electronic networks. Specific technological advances are producing widespread societal, cultural, and economic changes as journalists, public relations professionals, and advertising practitioners—in short, content creators and consumers of all kinds— face a new world of media symbols, processes, and effects. Few communications technologies better encapsulate the fundamental aspects of convergence than two seemingly very different devices: the telephone and the television. We will first look briefly at the history and evolution of the telephone as a communications device because it touches on almost every important issue that we are dealing with today regarding the Internet and digital media. Furthermore, the phone continues to be at the heart of some of the most innovative changes taking place in how we communicate with each other and how we interact with the world and with media. At the end of the chapter, we will take a brief look at the television, how it continues to be at the forefront of convergence and how it is changing our relationship with the media.

Discussion Questions: Keep a media diary for a day of the media you consume (and create). Note the sources of your news, the types of online communication you use with friends and family, and the frequency you are on the phone (talking and texting). What did you learn from the diary?

Telephony: Case Study in Convergence Although nowadays we may take the portability of our cell phones for granted, this mobility has important repercussions for a wide range of activities. First, we are no longer tied to a specific place when making or answering a phone call. The

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question “Where are you now?” when calling a friend on a landline need not be asked—your friend is obviously at home; otherwise, he would not have answered the phone. By being able to communicate anywhere and anytime, you are able to coordinate with others with greater spontaneity than in the past. Prior to widespread use of cell phones, if you had a sudden change of plans (or change of heart) regarding a meeting with someone, you had very limited ways to let the person know you would not show up. Coordinating meeting times and places among several people in a group took much more effort and did not allow for last-minute changes. Also, consider how much more we use a phone we carry, as opposed to when you had to travel to the location of the phone (e.g., home, a phone booth). This makes us more likely to call or text to share information on the spot. It also can mean, however, that we are less likely to interact with those immediately around us as we communicate with distant others. Our familiarity with the phone belies its revolutionary character from a communications standpoint. Before the phone, people could not talk directly to others whom they could not physically see. In an emergency, the only way to inform the proper authorities was to physically go where they were and let them know. The phone played a major role in changing our patterns of communication with each other and thereby changing social relations. But it was the telegraph, created more than thirty years before the telephone, that first revolutionized our speed of communication. The telegraph was the first means of electronic communication, using a series of taps on a keypad that represented dots and dashes to spell out words. These signals were transmitted over telegraph wires connecting one location to another. Telegraph operators were specially trained to code and decode messages, and the result was a thriving new industry that grew during the mid- to late nineteenth century. This innovative form of instantaneous communication led to entirely new kinds of business enterprises, including personal messaging services and “newswire” services such as Reuters and the Associated Press. Telephones adopted the principles discovered with telegraphy but allowed voice to be transmitted. Although Alexander Graham Bell is the inventor of record for the telephone in 1876, others were also working on how to transmit voice electronically through wires; and there is some evidence that Bell’s invention may have borrowed liberally from existing patents of inventors trying to build similar devices. Still, after years of lawsuits, it was Bell who won out. This parallels the many suits and countersuits seen today as companies claim patent infringement on Internet or software inventions and technologies (e.g., Apple’s $1 billion mobile-device patent infringement victory over Samsung in 2012).2 Regardless of who can claim credit for inventing the telephone, it was easier for the general public to use than the telegraph. Even so, it was not immediately thought of as an interpersonal communication device, largely because it was expensive and difficult to connect every single household to the telephone network. This parallels the “last mile” issue in twenty-first-century broadband, or high-speed, Internet connections coming directly into As the telephone network spread, telephone lines started to clutter the homes and touches on the importance of networks in our landscape.

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communication environment. It also highlights how seemingly obvious uses for new communications technologies become apparent only much later. How they may be used or adopted is very much an open question that relies not only on the technology alone but on a range of economic, social, and cultural issues at the time. Despite the dramatic changes the phone would bring to communications, it was initially either ignored or thought of as simply a novelty. With subsequent technological improvements that made it easier to hear and to increase the number of voices that could be carried on a single wire, the telephone became more widely accepted. The ring of the telephone was a death knell for most telegraph companies, just as later media technologies rendered earlier technologies from which they were built obsolete and changed entire industries in the process. Initially, especially in Europe, the telephone acted as a kind of early radio. Wealthy patrons paid a fee to listen to music performances that were sent along the wires, and some public venues would pipe in sermons or performances for their patrons.3 For several years in Budapest, Hungary, Telefon Hírmondó delivered news over the telephone, with subscribers dialing in at certain times to listen to someone reading the news of the day. A similar service was also tried in 1911 in Newark, New Jersey, but lasted for only a few months before closing. Delivering news over telephone wires therefore is not something new with the Internet, and it also shows a public desire for information and entertainment “on demand,” long before video recorders or TiVo. What was still missing at that time was an economic model that could support a business such as telephone newspapers. This issue is commonly dealt with today by media companies that need to see a return on investments before they are willing to experiment with new ways of doing business. The decision whether to make the telephone a government-run agency or a private enterprise was an important crossroad, and the choices made in Europe (government) differed from those made in the United States (private enterprise). Even into the twenty-first century, these choices have had profound repercussions for the actual and perceived development, use, and control of the Internet. And it continues to be the case that new technologies often inherit the baggage of political or social decisions made much earlier. Leaving the early development of American telephone systems to private enterprise resulted in many incompatibilities among competing systems. Local telephone companies sold their own telephones, which would often not work with other telephone systems. This might have prevented a person from calling somebody who used a competing phone provider. The issue of compatibility between systems is still seen today in the form of competing computer operating systems, gaming systems, Internet browsers, and other electronic devices, including ebooks and tablet computers. During the formative years of the telephone industry, the U.S. government sought to eliminate such incompatibilities in the phone network by granting one company, AT&T, a monopoly on the telephone system. This, too, had important repercussions for later developments in telecommunications. Just as the monopoly telegraph company, Western Union, had done in the late 1800s when it became apparent the telephone was a threat to its business, AT&T in the 1960s and 1970s tried to hamper the development of a new kind of network that would potentially hurt its business. The network needed to develop the Internet was not compatible with the AT&T system. Even though AT&T realized the new network was more efficient, the telephone company feared losing dominance and initially refused to adopt it.

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Issues of government regulation and private enterprise, monopoly powers, and business interests at the expense of the public interest are still very much with us today. How much we pay for services, what companies charge and how they set up payment plans, and a variety of other business decisions are influenced by the laws and regulations that have been created, sometimes as a result of industry lobbying efforts. Just as payment amounts and methods may influence how we use the telephone, social and cultural factors play an equally important role in determining whether a technology is adopted. Initially, people do not know how to act or interact with a new technology. Consider the classic story of the farmer, for example, who in the early days of the telephone went to town to place an order for supplies. The store clerk told him to place his order directly with the company over the phone, so the farmer dutifully wrote out his order, rolled it up carefully, and then jammed the rolled note into one of the holes of the phone handset and waited. If this seems too silly to be true, recall your own reactions when you have to use a friend’s phone or an unfamiliar TV remote control. The variety of functions seen in phones today stretches its very definition compared to even twenty years ago. Young people today in much of the world would consider a phone that does not take pictures or play video games or provide an address book a dinosaur. In short, the phone continues to evolve as a multifunctional communications device. The so-called smartphone connects us to our friends and to the world of information and entertainment through the Internet via almost 1 billion mobile applications (apps). It provides a nearly seamless interface between interpersonal and mass communication, as we access via a favorite app a review of a restaurant and then subsequently snap a photo Today’s cell phones typically have a variety of functions that have of our meal to share via Instagram. We might even wirenothing to do with the traditional functions of the phone. lessly post our own review on the spot, after which it can be seen by potentially millions of people worldwide. All these aspects of the development and use of the phone—ranging from the technical, legal, and regulatory to the economic, social, and cultural—touch on the notion of media convergence. But as we will see, convergence is a debated concept and has multiple layers of meaning. As we explore this phenomenon, we will unpack its many layers and reveal how they encompass some of the most dramatic transformations taking place in communications today.

Three Types of Convergence Convergence is known broadly as the coming together of computing, telecommunications, and media in a digital environment. It is important to study and understand convergence because what might first seem like wholly technological or media issues profoundly influence our economic, social, and cultural lives as well. There is some disagreement among scholars over a single definition of convergence, an indication of the far-reaching consequences of the changes taking place in mass communication today. Indeed, many transformative forces for which we have still to develop adequate descriptions are in play, changes whose effects are

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  convergence  The coming together of computing, telecommunications, and media in a digital environment.

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also uncertain. For now, the term “convergence” seems to come closest to encompassing many of these forces. Some argue that convergence has already occurred, and in many respects you could say that is true. But we believe that convergence is an ongoing and dynamic phenomenon that continues to shape the world of traditional media. We can look at three main categories of convergence as in Figure 1-1 as ways to frame our understanding of the changes taking place today in the media industries: technological convergence, economic convergence, and cultural convergence. As you will see, these three categories actually overlap in many respects.

TECHNOLOGICAL CONVERGENCE Perhaps the most easily visible aspect of convergence is the rise of digital media and online communication networks. Technological convergence refers to specific types of media, such as print, audio, and video, all converging into a digital media form. Such types of convergence are becoming increasingly apparent in news organizations, for example, where today’s journalists often need to be able to tell stories in text, audio, video, and even interactive media. Figure 1-1

  Three Types of Convergence and Their Influence on Media Technological Convergence

Media content changes Media type changes Media use changes Media distribution changes Media audience changes Media profession changes Cultural Convergence

Attitude/value changes

Economic Media organization Convergence changes

Digital media often change the very nature of their traditional counterparts and affect how we use and perceive them. For example, although you can look at an ebook on a Kindle as simply digital print, the fact is that a Kindle ebook alters the reading experience. One obvious way is that because of its storage capacity, you can easily carry many books in one device, allowing you to move back and forth between books or for cross-referencing passages quickly. Furthermore, you can change the text size to make reading more comfortable, look up words, annotate and index sections, and even purchase new books on the spot through a wireless Internet connection. Precisely because users can alter the look and size of the text they are reading, the notion of page numbers also becomes meaningless on a  Kindle—much to the chagrin of students who realize they need to cite

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quotations taken from a book. You can even share your highlighted passages with others, making book reading a collaborative experience. Most of these activities, such as looking up a word you don’t know in a dictionary, already occur with printed books. The significant difference, however, is that a single device now allows for all these actions, eliminating the need to carry a separate dictionary or permanently mark a book. Activities that used to be separate or cumbersome are now easier and folded into the media experience. Not simply a matter of convenience, these changes fundamentally alter how we interact with our media. We may be far more likely to look up a word on a Kindle than if we had to walk to the shelf to get the dictionary, for example. Ebook readers such as the Kindle and the Nook have The music, television, and film industries, which we will look at transformed the reading habits of people around the world, in later chapters, provide other examples of how our media use not to mention the book industry.  CRITICAL THINKING changes thanks in large part to changes in technology. QUESTIONS: How do you think ebooks are influencing the notion of books and reading? Are ebooks better or more This form of convergence, although highly relevant for touseful than traditional books? Which would you rather read, day’s communications professionals, is not the only way to and why? think of convergence. The changes that come from new technologies also affect business models and established industries, which often see the upstarts as threats to their dominance. These fears can be valid, as sometimes these new companies become larger and more powerful than established ones. Google, founded in 1998, is a case in point. Because of the importance of networks in today’s world, it is often advantageous for a company to control not only media content but the means of distributing that content through the networks, which is part of what economic convergence is about. In August 2015 Google itself announced that it would change its company name to Alphabet, with Google simply being one part of a corporation that exists in many other fields besides just media and technology.

ECONOMIC CONVERGENCE Economic convergence refers to the merging of Internet or telecommunications companies with traditional media companies, such as Comcast with NBC Universal. Traditional media companies have grown fewer and much larger in the past fifty years through mergers and acquisitions, a process we define as consolidation, not convergence. Economic convergence occurs when formerly independent media enterprises further the success of one another because they fall under the same corporate umbrella. Entertainment companies may own news stations; large corporations traditionally outside of the media business, such as GE, may purchase media companies like NBC. This can result in conflicts of interest when corporate parents don’t want some aspects of their businesses covered in the news or when a news outlet gives prominent coverage to a movie produced by a studio also owned by the corporate parent. Economic convergence also has important repercussions for the nature of the media, telecommunications, and computing industries. A telecommunications company that also owns a media company can speed the transmission of its own content and slow the content from competing companies, thus influencing customers to watch more of its own material. It could also control the type of content its customers see by blocking material from certain websites.

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  consolidation A process whereby traditional media companies have grown fewer and much larger in the past fifty years through mergers and acquisitions.

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Steve Jobs The cover of Time magazine on February 15, 1982, featured 26-year-old Steve Jobs as symbolic of America’s risk takers, one who “practically singlehandedly created the personal computer industry.” Jobs personalized his high-tech ­microprocessor devices by having form meet function with eye-catching yet minimalist designs that placed the digital world at the user’s fingertips. His singular talent was not necessarily for invention but for recognizing how to create what he envisioned from what was available and then finding talented people to do so. In 1979, at Xerox’s PARC facility in Palo Alto, California, Jobs saw the future of personal computing—a graphic user interface operated by a mouse, the distinguishing feature of what eventually developed into the Macintosh computer in 1984.4 Similarly, decades later, Jobs repurposed for the iPhone a lightweight, damage-resistant glass that Corning had ­created but never placed in production. Not content to create devices that manipulated the ­existing world, Jobs changed the world so that people could better use the tools he created. The iPod (2001) did not introduce any radical new technology, but the ­accompanying creation of iTunes forever changed the music industry. Cellular technology was hardly new when the iPhone (2007) brought about a transformative

c­ onvergence of telecommunications and the Internet. Unlike existing tablets, the iPad (2010) enveloped ­computing, telecommunications, digital publishing, and even television and movies. Jobs ran his corporation as a closed system, convinced that only Apple could ensure the quality and integrity of its products. Although, for example, he encouraged anyone to develop apps for use on Apple’s mobile devices, such apps are made available only with Apple’s ­approval. Jobs’s business model delivered Apple from near bankruptcy in 1997, and made it the most valuable company in the United States shortly before his death in 2011.5 Jobs was fond of saying he did not believe in giving customers what they wanted; he gave them what they did not know they needed.6 In his mind’s eye, that need was digital convergence made possible with smart devices that almost anyone could use and enjoy.

The Internet is not causing this type of behavior, as numerous historical examples exist of media owners censoring content or blocking public access. But what makes this issue more significant and prominent is the combination of consolidated media giants and ever larger audiences. Despite the explosion of channels and media content, our choices may be narrower than they appear. Consider the increasingly frequent temporary blackouts of channels as cable companies and media conglomerates fight over television licensing fees and let their agreements lapse. Over 3 million households on the East Coast missed the first two games of the 2010 World Series as Cablevision and Fox Networks fought over the terms of a new licensing agreement and Fox channels were suspended for Cablevision subscribers. In late 2014 and into early 2015, satellite provider DISH Network stopped carrying Fox News and Fox Business channels because of disagreements over licensing charges. As both sides accuse the other of working in bad faith and both sides try to gain public sympathy through advertisements, websites, and social media, determining a winner in the court of public opinion is difficult. In a cultural shift, the relationship between the audience or public and media producers is also changing.

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CULTURAL CONVERGENCE Culture refers to the values, beliefs, and practices shared by a group of people. It may refer to a population at large, such as Americans, or to various subgroups within a larger group who may share certain ethnic, social, or professional traditions and practices, such as Irish Americans, video gamers, or corporate attorneys. A powerful aspect of cultural convergence occurs through the globalization of media content when, for example, an HBO series such as Sex and the City becomes wildly popular among female office workers in Thailand; or when a Mexican telenovela, or soap opera, finds avid mass audiences in Russia. The popularity of such shows across a variety of nations speaks to some aspect they possess that foreign audiences identify with or aspire to, indicating that there may be more in common between a young professional woman in Bangkok and one in New York City than one might imagine. In the context of cultural convergence, a significant concern is the impact of global media on multiculturalism, or the diversity of culture, especially internationally. But we can also look at cultural convergence from the perspective of how we consume, create, and distribute media content. The shift from an audience that was forced to be largely passive and silent, simply consuming content produced by large-scale media companies to a public that can now produce and share content


Crying in a BMW Television dating shows have become very popular in China, offering viewers a titillating mix of sharp tongues, attractive young women, discussions about sex, and rampant materialism. In the most popular show, If You Are the One, produced by Jiangsu TV, a female contestant won notoriety when asked by a bachelor if she would like to ride on his bicycle with him. She said she would “rather cry in the back of a BMW” than smile on the back of a bicycle. Another female contestant told the panel that if anyone other than her boyfriend wanted to hold her hand it would cost the person $30,000.7 These kinds of comments—combined with on-screen and offscreen scandals—have drawn the ire of China’s television censors who claim shows like these are corrupting China’s youth with vulgarity and crass materialistic values. As a result, some shows were canceled, and those that stayed on the air toned down the more flamboyant aspects of the programs. The popular dating shows form part of China’s burgeoning commercial television industry. When China’s

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state-run television allowed commercial stations in the 1990s, it may have created a dragon it cannot now fully control. Periodic attempts to set strict guidelines that discourage materialism among Chinese youth have had doubtful effect. In April 2012, Chinese media reported that several people were arrested for their involvement in a scheme in which a 17-year-old teenager donated a kidney because he wanted to buy an iPad and an iPhone.8

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with others cheaply and easily is one of the major themes of this book and a crucial component of cultural convergence. Although mass communication will continue, in the sense that media companies and others will continue to produce messages for large audiences, a significant trend involves more personalized and frequent messages tailored to the needs of individuals. Furthermore, what was traditionally considered interpersonal communication, such as email, can also be widely distributed by individuals through online networks, making the dividing line between interpersonal and mass communication increasingly hard to distinguish. The ability of companies to better target people with personalized advertising and messages by tracking their online activities raises important issues of privacy, consumer rights, and media business economic models. Whether people will become more active in media production and more engaged in civic or political activities than in the past remains open to debate, with some scholars taking an increasingly critical look at how media corporations and companies in general are turning online public participation to their advantage. In one future, there is an engaged public who uses digital media and online networks to further interactivity and democracy prevails; and in another, there are established media conglomerates and other powerful economic forces that hijack public interests for their own ends. Such tensions and concerns will shape the nature of the Internet and digital media use far into the twentyDigital technology has allowed more people to create first century. professional-quality videos and other media content.

Discussion Questions: Discuss ways in which audiences can engage with each other through social media and with media organizations. Do you think this has made audiences more active? Why or why not?

Implications of Convergence Whether an Internet-connected world will ultimately and fundamentally improve  society is impossible to say; yet, for better and for worse, digital media have  changed and will continue to transform the relationship between mass-­ communication industries and the public. Media organizations face many challenges, but so do media consumers as the nature of our media environment changes. Some general trends can be discerned that will provide a better perspective on how our digital-media use is changing our media world and, by extension, our social and cultural worlds. Clearly, the changes brought about by convergence have had dramatic implications. Within the larger framework of the three types of convergence, these changes affect eight different areas, recurring themes addressed throughout this book: 1. Media organization 2. Media type 3. Media content

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4. Media use 5. Media distribution 6. Media audience 7. Media profession 8. Attitudes and values

MEDIA ORGANIZATION In the world that predated convergence, media content was created and published or broadcast on predetermined schedules by centralized media organizations in which a central unit or individual controls content production and distribution as well as marketing and other functions. A newspaper was printed and distributed daily or weekly; a television show appeared at a certain time on a certain day. The economics of the media system throughout most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries heavily favored a mass-production model leveraging centralized control to produce efficiencies. Only large companies could bear the costs of content creation, production, marketing, and distribution. Internet-based media can be less centralized, partly because many of the associated costs have been greatly reduced. Of course, movies, television shows, and many other types of mass-produced media still rely on the old production and distribution models; but now new marketing avenues on the Internet make it easier to mass distribute media products, as illustrated by the The Interview and Sony Pictures example at the beginning of the chapter. Unlike public service media, most media companies throughout the world operate to make a profit. Advertising is one of the main sources of revenue for these organizations, and advertisers today are spending less in traditional media and more online. The gap is beginning to narrow, although many media companies are still not making up the difference with online advertising. This has increased the financial pressure, especially in print media, which, having seen the largest drop in advertising, has led to layoffs, reduced printing and pages of newspapers and magazines, closings, and buyouts of struggling companies. Concentration of media ownership, or consolidation, was a growing trend even before digital media. Convergence is in some ways fueling media consolidation by leading traditional media giants such as Time Warner to join with a former online colossus such as America Online, giving rise in 2001 to the short-lived AOL Time Warner. In 2010, AOL, long jettisoned from Time Warner, bought one of the most popular blogs on the Web, The Huffington Post, yet another illustration of how the boundaries between traditional technology companies and media companies have blurred. The trend is clear: Analog and digital media are rapidly being consolidated into the hands of a few very large, very powerful, and very rich owners, an economic structure referred to as an oligopoly. These media enterprises are increasingly likely to be part of large, global media organizations publicly owned and accountable to shareholders, whose main interest is the financial bottom line. When traditional telecommunications companies, such as Comcast, join with large media companies, such as NBC Universal, it gives the companies a tremendous centralized control over what access and content is available to media consumers, which is problematic.

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  oligopoly An economic structure in which a few very large, very powerful, and very rich owners control an industry or collection of related industries.

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Related to changes in media organization and structure are changes in the types of media or ways in which we get our media content. The seemingly insignificant decision to watch a television program on a TV on a specific day and time or on demand on a mobile device actually has significant consequences for media organizations, advertising revenues, and audiences.

MEDIA TYPE Just what constitutes a television or radio receiver, or TV or radio programming, is in a state of flux. Once, it was simple. Radio programming was what a listener heard on a radio. Today, however, radio stations can transmit their programming via Internet or satellite and listeners can tune in via computers or smartphones. Moreover, these radio station websites can include images, graphics, text, and video, and listeners can choose what they want to hear or see when they want. The audience can sometimes even choose how they want to get content, such as watching the video, listening to the podcast, or reading the story. A growing number of print and radio reporters trained in digital video shooting and editing can now be “VJs,” or video journalists, webcasting their stories visually. Beyond decisions to either watch a video or read a story, defining media types entails consideration of vaster concerns such as media empires built on owning certain kinds of media and complex governmental laws that regulate different media industries and media ownership. In the United States, for example, print media enjoy more free-speech protections than the more tightly regulated electronic broadcast media, and cable providers are treated differently than broadcast networks. This raises the question of how text on the Internet should be treated— does it have the same First Amendment protections as its print counterpart because it is simply words? Or should it be treated as electronic media because it is delivered electronically? And now, as more people watch TV on mobile devices, what are the responsibilities of the Internet provider in all of this, as simply the channel and not the creator of the content itself? Many of these questions have yet to be settled.


  hyperlink Clickable pointer to other online content.

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Stories told in a digital, online medium can make connections with other types of content much more easily than in any other medium. This is done primarily through the use of hyperlinks, clickable pointers to other online content. Online interactive advertisements encourage visitors to click on the ads and go to the sponsor’s website, or play a game, or take a survey. In entertainment programming, hyperlinked content allows a viewer to explore a story in a nonlinear narrative, whose outcome may be determined by the user’s choice of links. On-demand content has become increasingly popular. In the traditional media world, the publisher or broadcaster set the schedule for news, entertainment, and marketing information. Children growing up in an on-demand media world of ­YouTube, podcasting, and digital video recorders (DVRs) may not readily understand why the same options don’t always exist while listening to the radio or watching a traditional television channel that has no on-demand features. The changes have happened so fast and been so extensive that new terms have been created to highlight the differences between a generation that has grown up with

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digital technologies and those that were born in the analog era. Digital natives are the postmillennial generation that have only known digital and social media, whereas digital immigrants are older generations that may also use digital media, but that generally have more trouble adapting in varying degrees to the digital media world. Digitization, the process that makes media computer readable, is transforming both how and when media organizations distribute their content. Delivery no longer occurs solely through traditional channels but also via the Internet, satellites, mobile devices, and a host of other digital technologies. Increasingly, content is available twenty-four hours a day, with news organizations updating news continuously and for a worldwide audience. Digital technology is similarly transforming the production cycle and process as illustrated by Figure 1-2. In fact, the transformation may be even deeper in terms of media-content production. Whether in Hollywood motion pictures, television shows or news, books, magazines, newspapers, or online, producing media content has rapidly become almost an entirely digital process. Shot with digital cameras and edited on computers, movies can be sent by high-speed Internet to digital movie theaters. Reporters working for television, radio, newspapers, or any other news operation capture their raw material with digital devices as well, editing their stories digitally. Even book authors typically compose on a computer, with digital words remaining the norm throughout the production process, being read on e-readers, smartphones, or tablets. Digital media are challenging our understanding of media content as static or unchangeable. This is especially evident in a wiki, a website that can be edited by anyone. Wikis have grown in popularity, revealing the demand among Web users

Figure 1-2


  digital native A term coined in 2001 by author Marc Prensky for a member of a younger generation that has grown up with and is consequently very comfortable using digital media and adapting to rapid technological changes.

  digital immigrant An individual who grew up in the analog media era and who generally has more trouble adapting to new digital technologies, despite perhaps a desire to use and understand them.

  digitization The process that makes media computer readable.

  wiki Website that lets anyone add, edit, or delete pages and content.

  “Media Iceberg” Physical products (printed material, videotapes, film, etc.)

Typing on paper, taking film photographs or movie film Analog Digital

Online distribution of text, audio, video, photography

Page layout and design text editing video/audio editing

Writing on computer digital recording video, film or audio

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for such a function. The wiki owes much of its success to Wikipedia, where the stuffy and authoritative encyclopedia article became a collaborative hybrid of encyclopedia and breaking news updated by users. Of course, content was never actually unchangeable; it just seemed that way. A book could be reprinted as a new edition, yet for most readers the changes between editions were practically speaking impossible to discern. An online book is a much more fluid and dynamic document, with discussion forums on book material incorporated into the contents, ongoing online discussions between the author and readers, and interactions among readers. Similarly, mash-ups of existing media have become common thanks to digital editing tools for music and video. Any popular item produced from mass media (e.g., advertisements, movie trailers, music videos) has the potential of being quickly transformed into a number of user-generated parodies or send-ups, most done simply for the fun of creating something rather than for commercial gain. Consider the many mash-up videos of Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae ­Jepsen’s 2012 smash hit “Call Me Maybe.” Online discussions and mash-ups ­exemplify increasing audience interaction and participation, one of many changes in media use.

Discussion Questions: Discuss any media content you have created in the past week or so (such as posting pictures to social media, forwarding videos or stories, etc.) and what happened with that media. Who saw the content you posted, and did it reach a wider audience than you thought it would?

MEDIA USE The pervasiveness of the media system, expanded exponentially by modern global satellite communications, entails unprecedented access to mass communication. Fewer and fewer places on the globe are truly isolated, even famously remote and physically inaccessible locations. In May 1996, climber and guide Rob Hall was trapped high on Mt. Everest for more than a day after a sudden storm hit. Facing certain death—unable to descend and unable to be rescued—Hall was nonetheless capable of speaking to his pregnant wife in New Zealand by satellite phone.9 A 24/7 media age, which had begun to emerge even before the advent of the Internet, has arrived. This environment has several implications for industries and for consumers, how we use media, and what we expect from them. Media companies have to find content to fill the time, and thus we are seeing more encore performances of hit shows or movies on channels like TNT, showing the same movie two or three times in a row and on multiple nights. This practice fills programming time while allowing viewers greater scheduling flexibility. Portable media devices and flat-screen technologies mean that we can take our media with us and access them in previously inaccessible places. Video displays in elevators or at checkout registers are two examples of how advertisers are using technology to reach captive audiences. Playing video games or watching videos on smartphones make media even more ubiquitous. Research shows we live in a multiscreen world where the tablet has begun to replace the personal computer or laptop.10 ­A lthough the TV is still the first screen or the most used, it is often employed in combination with a tablet or a smartphone, a phenomenon

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called “the third or fourth screen,” depending on the relative position of the movie screen in terms of public use. Pervasive mass communication means better access to entertainment, information, and news—in theory. It can also mean that media organizations can turn us into super-consumers of media of questionable social or civic value. One might, for example, question the value of viewing a lowbrow reality show on your mobile phone while riding the bus or spending hours at home watching funny cat videos on YouTube. All the activities mentioned here are predicated on the broad assumption that individuals have ready access to computers, a broadband Internet (wired or Wi-Fi) connection, and the knowledge and skills to use them. Many in adIn Switzerland, Secretary of State John Kerry and his team huddle around a tablet vanced, industrialized countries take these as to watch President Obama announce from the White House a new agreement givens, but these digital advantages are far from with Iran on its nuclear program.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: How universal, even within developed countries. important is a tablet or mobile device for your news consumption? Does digital Better Internet access has neither arrived portability help keep you better informed? equally to all nor allowed everyone to benefit equally from that access. People in lower socioeconomic groups in industrialized countries have lagged in almost every category of Internet access. The high cost of telecommunication services, including broadband Internet, keeps many from being able to develop the skills and knowledge that can help them participate fully in society. Although still far behind dozens of other countries, the United States has been making slight gains in high-speed Internet penetration and affordability of available services, as well as Internet speed. In 2013, the United States ranked thirty-third in terms of Internet speed, trailing Canada, but in 2015 it had moved up to twenty-seventh, slightly behind Norway. Even so, Americans’ average Internet speed was less than a third that of first-ranked Singapore.11 (See Figure 1-3.) Figure 1-3

  Average Consumer Download Speed by Country (2015) Speed (Mbps) 119.69

1. Singapore 104.12

2. Hong Kong 81.24

3. Japan


4. Romania 5. Lithuania


6. Sweden

60.07 59.16

7. South Korea


8. Saint Pierre and Miquelon


9. Netherlands 10. Macau 27. United States

50.71 36.22

Source: Ookla Speedtest, Household Download Index,

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  viral marketing Promoting a product, service, or brand online through word of mouth, usually via online discussion groups, chats, and emails.

  peer-to-peer (P2P) The basis of file-sharing services, a computer communications model and network whose computers are considered equal peers who can send, store, and receive information equally well.

  user-generated content (UGC) Content created by the general public for distribution by digital media.

Content is much more fluid, dynamic, and rapidly transmitted around the globe in an online environment. The expansive reach of global media and instantaneous communications is not without its perils, however, for events in distant places can have far-reaching repercussions. False rumors about political or company leaders can demonstrate the power and danger of rapid global communication. For ­instance, a fake tweet in spring 2013 from a hacked Associated Press account claiming President Obama had been injured in an explosion temporarily wiped out $130 billion in the stock market. The Internet enables audiences around the world to participate in a dialog about global events and issues, bringing individuals separated by thousands of miles and various political and cultural boundaries into direct contact with each other. It is not clear what the net effect of this sea change in communication will be, but it is clear the foundation is potentially being laid for a more connected and engaged global public. Increased connectivity and engagement does not necessarily mean more rational discussion or civilized debate though, especially as people discover that what they may consider cultural common sense others may consider heresy. Consider the vitriol displayed in many discussion groups, even among people of the same culture but whose opinions differ. Audiences are increasingly active in their communication with each other and with the creators of mass-communication content, a trend that can decrease corporate power as it increases consumer control. Through viral marketing, the online equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising, a popular website, product, or piece of content can rapidly reach millions of online users, all without corporate promotion or advertising dollars. The success of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs demonstrates how an Internet audience can shift the balance of power from media organizations to consumers, even though those organizations created and provided that content in the first place. Digital media make it easier than ever for the public to create and distribute media content, whether it is user-generated content (UGC) such as an original drawing done via illustration software, an animation or video, or a song sampled and mixed from current hits by famous recording artists. Writing and music have led the way in consumer-created content—especially music, where remixes of previously recorded (and copyrighted) material are common. This is not to say that the average person now has the same ability to produce and create a hit song as a major recording label, for most individuals lack the marketing and promotion resources that a recording label has at its disposal; but the basic capability of producing and distributing at least exists. Media companies have failed to control the channels of media distribution as they once did, and the Internet continues to threaten their business models. This has led to important changes in how consumers view and use content while changing the relationship between media companies and their audiences.

MEDIA AUDIENCE Traditional mass communication is largely one way, from the sender of a message to the receiver. Relatively large, heterogeneous, and anonymous audiences have relatively few means by which to communicate either with each other on a mass scale or with the creators and publishers. Audiences in the age of convergence can now more easily and quickly communicate with each other and with those who create and publish mass-communication content via social media, email, online

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User-Generated Content: Creativity or Piracy? With the ease of copying and altering digital content, almost anyone can remake media content. Two or three popular songs from different artists can be combined into a new song; an artist’s paintings can be manipulated digitally and mixed with one’s own work. Is this kind of content creation original art, or is it copyright infringement because it relies on preexisting art owned by someone else? What are the ethical and legal obligations of the creator who uses others’ works? Some argue that previous works encountered by an artist will influence almost any creative endeavor and that digital ­content simply facilitates mash-ups. They argue that copyright—essentially a ­government-granted monopoly to the content creator (or owner of the copyright, as is often the case with recording labels where the artists don’t own the copyright)—is anachronistic in the digital age and increasingly stifles creativity through steep licensing or copyright fees. Copyright ­reduces the amount of creative material in the public domain, thus reducing the pool of works freely available.

Yet copyright remains a cornerstone of media industries, a fundamental way for media companies to generate revenues. Most media industries, especially in entertainment, would be hard pressed to envision a world with no copyright that would still allow them to create the kind of content they do. Creative Commons, a non-profit organization, has made a range of “copyleft” contracts for content creators that help ensure creative works remain in the public domain. Under the various contracts, content creators allow their content to be used by anyone for free but with certain stipulations, such as they must be credited or the content can be used only if it isn’t sold. Another common stipulation within the community is that people using the content must allow it to remain free for public use. Visit the Creative Commons website and click on the “Find CC-licensed works” link (under the Explore heading). Search for some content of interest, such as “hip hop” via SoundCloud (Music) or ccMixter (Music). What do you find?

forums, and other interactive media. In addition, they can create the content themselves and reach far larger audiences with less expense than was possible with traditional media. They are generally not anonymous because they can be tracked through user names or IP addresses. Audiences aren’t willing to wait for the evening news or the next day’s newspaper for developments in a breaking story. They can get their information and entertainment from literally thousands of sources around the world. Audiences are no longer content to sit back and listen in silence to what the media report; they actively seek, relay, and question the most recent information on social media, blogs, instant messaging, and other informal communication channels. There have been cases of employees finding out about looming company layoffs through websites hours before the company officially announced its plans, and military family members learning of the death of a loved one in combat through social media before the military informed the family. Digital media do not cause people to become active media producers, called “produsers” by some media scholars in an attempt to capture how we now use and produce (not just consume) content. Nevertheless, digital media provide people who are so inclined with ready tools to produce media far more cheaply and easily than with analog alternatives. Active audiences have two important implications for media companies: They may compete for the limited time of target audiences, and they may become more critical consumers of mass communication, which is relevant to media literacy, the topic covered in Chapter 2.

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  produsers Audiences who no longer are simply consumers but also produce content.

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As produsers, people learn to become more critical of the media and to raise questions about the quality of the news, information, and entertainment they receive. The channels available through interactive media let the public speak to a general audience and directly to traditional media producers, thereby imparting a sense of shared experience, even perhaps community, as people see that others may feel as they do; others also found a particular advertisement offensive or considered a certain show rather lame. An interactive public is more likely to be an active public, organizing and working together on common problems. Those who have developed trusting relationships through interaction are less likely to perceive themselves as anonymous faces in a crowd or isolated individuals who have no voice. Risks accompany these changes, however. Actively choosing the media you want to see, hear, or read can narrow the scope of news or entertainment that you would the late Michael Dertouzos, former MIT Media Lab director called the tailoring of news to one’s specific interests “The Daily Me.” Some scholars worry that this phenomenon could fragment audiences into small groups of like-minded individuals who avoid interacting with other groups and who select only news and information that reinforces their beliefs and values. Although digital media can easily accelerate media fragmentation, a trend already evident in analog media, personalization and localization of news does have potential benefits by allowing the public to get the most relevant and engaging content for them as individuals while becoming better informed about current events.


  citizen journalism The gathering and sharing of news and information by public citizens, particularly via mobile and social media, sometimes via traditional media.

Obviously, all the changes that convergence has brought to mass communication will also change the way communications professionals do their jobs. Just as digital media absorbed traditional print, video, and audio, divisions between print and electronic journalists, and between advertising and public relations practitioners, will fade. In addition to writing effectively, more newsrooms expect reporters to use video and audio to tell stories. To better reach and persuade audiences, those in advertising and public relations find themselves increasingly using tools that were previously the sole domain of the other profession. To take advantage of digital media, new skills will have to be learned, and it will be more important than ever not to abandon the fundamental principles and ethics of each profession in the inexorable march toward the digital realm. This is no easy order given how corporate parents can exert pressure to blur the lines between news and entertainment or news and promotion. Giving the audience a chance to respond to and interact with journalists as well as provide their own news coverage in the form of citizen journalism is another important development in journalism today. A mistake in a story can be publicly countered, corrected in the discussion section of the story, and then incorporated in a revised version. Citizens can provide news content or report on stories of relevance to their locales that big news operations may not deem newsworthy.

ATTITUDES AND VALUES Changes in audience interactions have had repercussions for companies in general and media companies in particular. People have come to expect a certain degree of

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transparency in their communications with each other and with leading organizations, including media organizations. A growing number of cases that exposed organizations deceiving the public have damaged their reputations. One such example involved Edelman, a global PR firm that financed the “Wal-Marting Across America” blog in 2006. The blog was ostensibly written by a couple traveling around the country who liked to park their recreational vehicle at Wal-Mart because of the free services offered to RVers. Of course, they had nothing but good things to say about Wal-Mart and its employees. When the truth was revealed that Edelman, whose client was Wal-Mart, was actually paying the couple, the ethics of such a blog, which failed to state who was funding it, were hotly debated. Because most people on the Web do not physically make contact with each other and know one another only through their online interactions and communication, establishing a sense of trust has become crucial. A growing number of reputation systems aid users in this effort, such as rankings on Amazon or eBay and “karma points” on Slashdot, a popular technology news and discussion website. Managing an online reputation is serious business for companies as well as for individuals. Imagine the potential impact of bad reviews on eBay for someone trying to make a living by selling items on the site. Companies are also vulnerable and can fall prey to disinformation campaigns, which makes monitoring rival blogs and online discussions important. Reputation and transparency rely on digital relationships founded on trust and respect. Media companies that do not realize this will suffer in the long run. For many, it means a shift in corporate policies or philosophies and a loss of the control they have enjoyed through much of the mass-communications era. Conventional wisdom among some executives is that employees are more willing to spend company time doing personal things, like shopping online, than they were in the past. But, on the other hand, companies, which also expect employees to stay longer at work or to answer business emails while at home or on vacation, must accept that the blurring of company time and private time is a large-scale trend. The convergence of digital media has led to confusion over our traditional ­notions of privacy, both for individuals and for companies. Although privacy laws in a number of cases have clearly been violated, even by traditional standards, often what is acceptable or even legal and what is not is still a source of confusion. A person writing a blog, for instance, may consider it a private journal. So if a potential employer mentions inappropriate postings during a job interview, she may be angered by what feels like an invasion of her privacy. Similarly, information that always has been public but too cumbersome to retrieve, such as property deeds or police arrests, can now be easy to find online. One component of privacy is alone time, and these moments have become increasingly rare in an age of pervasive media. Maintaining a sense of privacy can be difficult when we are getting barraged with updates from Facebook friends or receiving text messages. Some even argue that digital natives raised on social media have lost the ability to appreciate or even tolerate solitude, once a coveted commodity. Wireless communication between devices, without the need for specific human direction—such as swiping a debit card at a supermarket checkout— makes it easy to establish a profile of a person simply through his electronic transactions over a short period of time. The ability to track consumers with such accuracy, especially on the Web and through mobile devices, means that we can personalize our media content; but it also means we have revealed much about our

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Interactively Mapping Gun Owners On December 22, 2012, the Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal News published online an interactive map providing the names and addresses of all registered handgun owners in New York and Rockland counties. Although the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens’ right to bear arms, there has never been consensus about just what this right means. ­Recently, the enduring national debate about gun control or rights has intensified following a spate of shooting of schoolchildren, such as that in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012; Sparks, Nevada, in 2013; Troutdale, Oregon, in 2014, and elsewhere—these, in addition to similar episodes of carnage on university campuses across the country. When the Journal News published the names and addresses of thousands of legal gun owners, however, a vigorous debate ensued about gun owners’ right to privacy and public access to personal information, even if such information was in the public domain. Within Mining public data sources, this interactive news map enables access to seventy-­two hours of the publication of the interactive detailed personal information about gun ownership. map, more than 1,700 comments about the map and its special interest and who were willing to physically go where data had been posted on the Journal News discussion board. the data were housed. Both sides weighed in on the debate. One poster wrote, The convergence of data, the Internet, and digital devices “LOVE the Gun License map! Excellent information to anyone has made it increasingly common for media organizations or concerned with who they live around!” Another wrote, “So others to post such personal information for all to see, from should we start wearing yellow Stars of David so the general Poughkeepsie to Kathmandu. Is it ethical to make these data public can be aware of who we are?” so easily and widely available for all? Should media make such In the age before ubiquitous Internet access, governpersonal information available if it helps foster more debate ment agencies centrally kept such public domain data and about important topics, regardless of ethical concerns? restricted access to limited groups or individuals with a

  behavioral targeting Advertisers tracking individuals’ web-browsing behavior to provide ads that closely match the topics of sites visited or searches made.

  cookies Information that a website puts on a user’s local hard drive so that it can recognize when that computer accesses the website again. Cookies also allow for conveniences like password recognition and personalization.

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personal habits and interests, not all of which we may wish to share with companies or advertisers who use that information for behavioral targeting in their advertising campaigns. Mass-communication organizations can keep detailed and updated records on their audiences by tracking their paths within their websites through intelligent software agents and programs known as cookies. These allow a website to recognize when a previous user returns and to offer personalized content. Cookies provide invaluable information for media organizations to better understand an audience’s media behaviors, preferences, and habits. Advertisers on websites also add cookies to your computer so they can track your browsing behavior as well. Surveillance is an increasingly powerful tool necessary to optimize content and to give advertisers a high return on their investment, even as it raises serious concerns about the erosion of privacy.

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So far we have discussed how convergence has been changing the media industries and their business models, the issues communications professionals have faced with the advent of new technologies, the nature of the relationship between media producers and audiences, and legal matters that have yet to be addressed. You have gotten a glimpse of the powerful transformations taking place today in mass communications and the media and will see even more detailed examples in subsequent chapters. But before we can move forward, we have to take a step back and look at what mass communication itself is and how media scholars theorize it operates. We will then be able to use these foundations to better understand the changes taking place today.

Mass Communication in the Digital Age The traditional mass-communication model differs from other forms of communication, such as interpersonal communication, which is communication between two or more persons. Interpersonal communication often interacts and intersects with mass communication, communication to a large group or groups of people that remain largely unknown to the sender of the message.


  interpersonal communication Communication between two or more individuals, often in a small group, although it can involve communication between a live speaker and an audience.

  mass communication Interpersonal communication is usually interactive, or flowing at least two ways, and tends not to be anonymous. Think of chatting with a friend or a small group. Communication to a large group or groups of people that remain Responses are generally immediate, and the speaker or speakers will often adjust largely unknown to the sender their messages based on the responses they receive. Interpersonal communication of the message. involves both verbal and nonverbal messages: not just what was said, but how it was said.   medium These same principles apply to live public speaking, even though this is a A communication channel, such as one-to-many model, and opportunities for audience feedback will be more limtalking on the telephone, instant ited than in a casual small-group setting. The speaker and the audience can messaging, or writing back and communicate through a variety of nonverbal cues such as forth in a chat room. facial expressions, physical contact, or body language. If speakers see looks of boredom or audience members yawning, they can adjust their presentation accordingly in an effort to make it more interesting. Interpersonal communication can also take place through a medium, or communication channel, such as the telephone, when texting or talking, or the Internet, when participating in a chat room or on a discussion board, for example. Note how the mediation limits some aspects of interpersonal communication compared to face-to-face interactions. Visual cues are absent either on the telephone or online (unless using a webcam), and meanings can be misconstrued in text messages (even those supplemented with emoticons). The online medium also blurs the line between interpersonal and mass communiInterpersonal communication takes place between two or more cation, as a private email or text can be forwarded to many people, is interactive, and can happen face-to-face or through a other people. medium.

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  synchronous media Media that take place in real time and require the audience to be present during the broadcast or performance, such as live television or radio.

  asynchronous media Media that do not require the audience to assemble at a given time, such as printed materials and recorded audio or video.

Media of mass communication refer to any technological means of communicating between large numbers of people distributed widely over space or time. Ever  since Johannes Gutenberg invented the Western world’s first mechanical printing press in Germany in 1455, one general model of communication has traditionally characterized mass media, whose central features, as articulated by different theorists, are also outlined in Table 1-1. According to this framework, media companies create content they believe the audience will want and distribute that content to an audience who has very few ways to provide immediate feedback. This premise has characterized all media of mass communication—books, magazines, newspapers, broadcast television or radio, cable or satellite TV, recorded music, or motion pictures. Digital media, however, are radically changing that model, as we will see throughout this book. In the traditional mass-communication model, content creators play a fundamental role in society by representing and defining reality (consider the work of journalists or other communication professionals) or by creating fictional works to explain, interpret, or entertain (consider the work of artists, authors, and film auteurs). Authors and artists create stories about issues and events; they write books and articles; they create music or motion pictures; and then they publish, broadcast, or present their creations at set dates or times and in set locations. Some mass-communications models, such as live television or radio, are synchronous media, which require the audience to be assembled simultaneously for the broadcast, transmission, or event. Others are asynchronous media, such as newspapers or magazines, for example, which do not require the audience to  ­assemble at any given time. Audio and video recording devices let people

  Traditional Theories or Models of Analog Media

Table 1-1



General Mass Media

1. Communication flow is largely one-way, from sender or source to receiver or audience. 2. Communication is from one or a few to many (i.e., one or a few sources generate and ­distribute content to large, heterogeneous audiences). 3. Communication is anonymous (sources typically do not know their audiences, and ­audiences do not know the sources, except at a general level). 4. Audiences are seen as largely passive recipients of the messages distributed by the media, with little opportunity for feedback and practically no opportunity for immediate feedback or interaction with each other.

Shannon and Weaver Transmission Model (see p. 28)

Information source Transmitter Channel Receiver Destination

Schramm’s Simplified Communication Model (see p. 29)

1. A source, who encodes 2. a message, or signal, which is transmitted (via the media or directly via interpersonal ­communication) to 3. a destination, where the receiver decodes it.

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time shift and record a live concert or performance so that it can be watched anytime, thereby turning synchronous media into asynchronous media.


  time shift Recording of an audio or video event for later listening or viewing.

MASS COMMUNICATION AND CONVERGENCE Digital media and online networks have blurred the line between interpersonal and mass communication. The media companies built on mass-­ communication models, despite facing many challenges in the digital era, are not disappearing anytime soon, and neither will certain fundamental aspects of mass communication. What is changing, however, is the interplay between mediated interpersonal communication and mass communication: Interpersonal communication is capable of adopting some characteristics of mass communication, and mass communication is trying to adopt certain characteristics of interpersonal communication in an attempt to remain relevant to audiences. Let’s examine some examples. Email is considered a form of mediated interpersonal communication, yet as anyone who has had his or her inbox clogged with forwarded jokes from Aunt Gertrude can attest, it can also be broadcast to many recipients, following the one-tomany model typical of mass communication. Despite their interpersonal tone and scope, some weblogs, or blogs, have become very influential among the public or among decision makers, with readership greater than many well-established mainstream publications. Blogs may allow immediate feedback or discussion from readers, who often must be registered to post feedback and are therefore not anonymous—thereby weakening two of the linchpins in the definition of mass communication. Yet it is hard to claim that the most popular blogs are not a type of mass communication because of the numbers of audience members reading them and the lack of interaction between the blog author and a respondent. Twitter also follows a blended mass-communication and mediated interpersonal-­communication model, as people broadcast their tweets to thousands or even millions of followers, yet the followers can re-tweet and interact with each other and their followers. The fragmented nature of audiences on the Web complicates attempts to define a “mass.” Some websites have small but dedicated followings, while others have millions of visitors a month, reaching far more people than your typical local newspaper. Yet the local newspaper would traditionally be considered a type of mass communication, unlike a YouTube video such as “Charlie Bit My Finger— Again!,” despite over 808 million views eight years after being posted and well over two thousand various remixes and spoofs. It is important to remember that much of the interaction and conversation that occurs online does so because of the information and entertainment generated from mass communication. “Charlie Bit My Finger,” for example, gave rise to a handful of fan clubs on Facebook (including a Mexican one). Consider a TV series like Star Trek, though, which ran for only three seasons in the late 1960s but continues to have a thriving fan subculture that consumes—and creates—content about the series and its actors, not to mention the various movies and televisionseries spin-offs from the original Star Trek. The daily mix of news, information, and entertainment that we consume through mass-communication channels gives us fodder for remixes, blogs, interactions with each other—and reactions to media producers who provide the content.

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  blog Short for weblog, a type of website in which a person posts regular journal or diary entries, with the posts arranged chronologically.

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Functions of Mass Communication Defining mass communication was once straightforward. The media were relatively stable and well known. The functions of mass communication in society were also relatively well understood and thoroughly researched. Studies by Harold D. Lasswell, Charles Wright, and others suggest that these functions have tended to fall largely into four broad categories.12 These functions can be a useful lens through which to examine various forms of mass communication.

SURVEILLANCE   surveillance Primarily the journalism function of mass communication, which provides information about processes, issues, events, and other developments in society.

In mass communication, surveillance refers primarily to journalism that provides information about processes, issues, events, and other developments in society. This can include news on the latest military activities, weather alerts, and political scandals. Aspects of advertising and public relations as well as educational communication can also employ surveillance. One weakness in the surveillance function is that an excess of news about disasters, murders, or other unusual events can skew the audience’s perception of what is normal in society. Receiving too much information on a particular topic can also promote apathy. Consider how media coverage of a scandal ­regarding a sports figure such as Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez can take on a life of its own and seem to continue forever until we are truly sick of seeing any more stories about A-Rod and athlete doping. Celebrity scandals may present more trivial examples, but skewed or apathetic responses to coverage of wars or disasters, especially in developing countries, are more significant and problematic.

Although surveillance is an important function of mass communication, repeated exposure to a story can have negative effects. After you hear about plane crashes in the media, are you more likely to worry about being in a plane crash?

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CORRELATION Correlation refers to the ways in which media interpret events and issues and ascribe meanings that help individuals understand their roles within the larger society and culture. Journalism, advertising, and public relations all shape public opinion through commentary, criticism, or even targeted marketing campaigns. Polls or surveys allow individuals to learn what others think about an issue and where their views fit within mainstream opinions. People may even shift their views or beliefs subtly to better align themselves with a desirable social group. By correlating one’s views with other groups or perceived notions of general public opinion, the media can help maintain social stability, although this function can be taken too far, and the media can thwart social change or block a full range of views from being disseminated to a mass audience. Interpretation can also tend to favor established business or elite interests over disadvantaged or minority groups, increasing the apparent credibility and authority of the dominant culture.

  correlation Media interpretation ascribing meaning to issues and events that helps individuals understand their roles within the larger society and culture.

CULTURAL TRANSMISSION Cultural transmission refers to the transference of the dominant culture, as well as its subcultures, from one generation to the next or to immigrants. This includes socialization, which the media perform by teaching societal rules and depicting standards of behavior. This function is especially important for children but also necessary for adults who may have immigrated recently to a new country with a different culture. Not all aspects of cultural transmission are viewed favorably. It has been criticized for creating a homogenized culture that promotes mindless consumerism as a means to achieve happiness rather than imparting more humanistic, and ultimately more rewarding, values such as an appreciation of multiculturalism and diversity.

ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment function is performed in part by all three of these activities (surveillance, correlation, and cultural transmission) but also involves the generation of content designed specifically and exclusively to entertain. Although some claim that this function helps raise artistic and cultural taste among the general populace, others disagree, arguing that mass media encourage escapism and promote lowbrow entertainment at the expense of high art. Entertainment can also perpetuate certain stereotypes about various groups, wittingly or unwittingly. These can be especially hard to detect because they are often presented as  part and parcel of a story line that makes oversimplified characters seem natural in context. For good and for bad, powerful cultural principles and symbols permeate entertainment, transmitting specific sets of values that can go unquestioned.

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Wartime propaganda posters provide windows into how public opinion can be shaped.

  cultural transmission The process of passing on culturally relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values from person to person or group to group.

Cultural transmission is a function of mass communication sometimes criticized for promoting mindless consumerism.

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Discussion Questions: Consider your own use of social and digital media. What is the source of much of what you discuss with your friends online—does it come from news or politics or primarily entertainment sources such as television, movies, and music? What implications do you think your habits have for notions of the public?

Theories of Communication Over the centuries, great thinkers have tried to define communication and understand it as a process. They have proposed a variety of theories in their attempts to explain it. One of the earliest communication theorists was the philosopher ­A ristotle, who in 300 bce called the study of communication “rhetoric” and identified three primary elements within the process: the speaker, the subject, and the person addressed. He also identified three basic rhetorical appeals to persuade an audience: pathos, an appeal that excites emotions; ethos, an appeal that establishes the speaker’s credibility; and logos, an appeal that relies on logic and reasoning. Aristotle’s principal ideas laid an enduring foundation for communication research even today. The need to enrich our understanding of communication from a theoretical perspective arose with the importance that mass communication began to have in people’s lives, especially as electronic communication such as radio and television became so dominant.

TRANSMISSION MODELS In 1949, scientists Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver formulated an influential model of communication.13 Known as a transmission model of communication, it is closely related to communication theorist Harold Lasswell’s famous question about media effects, which he posed in 1948: “Who says what in which channel to whom with what effect?” This model has allowed for many general applications in mass communication. The Shannon and Weaver mathematical theory of communication is based on a linear system of electronic communication. The original formulation of the model included five main elements (see Figure 1-4). An information source formulates a message. A transmitter encodes the message into signals. The signals are delivered via a channel. A receiver decodes the signals, “reconstructing” the Figure 1-4

  Shannon and Weaver Mathematical Theory Message

Information source


Received signal


Message Receiver


Noise source

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original message, which reaches its destination. The communication flow in this model is decidedly one-directional, from the sender to the receiver. The system has a limited capacity to provide feedback from the receiver to the information source: to acknowledge receipt of the message, to indicate whether the message has been understood, and to communicate the receiver’s reaction. The communication process can be adversely affected by noise, or interference, from the environment, possibly by way of competing or distracting messages or even electrical interference. The model clearly explains how a telephone works. The information source speaks (encoding a message); the phone (transmitter) transforms the sound waves into electrical impulses (the signal), which are sent over the channel (the tiny box in the center of Figure 1-4); and those electrical impulses are turned back into sound waves by the phone (receiver) at the other end of the line where they are heard and (one hopes) understood (decoded) by another person (destination). Noise is any interference anywhere along the way. The Shannon and Weaver model is especially technological in its orientation and therefore limited in its utility for understanding traditional mass communication because it does not fully reflect the role of humans in the process—­ specifically, how meaning is created. Moreover, the advent of digital, networked communication media is greatly expanding the interactive nature of communication, making the limited feedback capacity of the model more problematic even by its own standards. Adapting the Shannon and Weaver model and integrating concepts from Aristotle, pioneering communication scholar Wilbur Schramm in 1954 developed a simplified communications model in the book The Process and Effects of Mass Communication, as summarized in Figure 1-5.14 Significantly, Schramm envisioned understanding as an integral part of human communication. He also realized that another important aspect of the

Figure 1-5


  simplified communications model Developed by Wilbur Schramm in 1954 and based on the mathematical theory of communication. It includes a source who encodes a message, or signal, which is transmitted (via the media or directly via interpersonal communication) to a destination where the receiver decodes it.

  Schramm–Osgood Model Message








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traditional communication model needed correcting: in human communication, mediated or not, communication is not a one-way process. Schramm wrote, “In fact, it is misleading to think of the communication process as starting somewhere and ending somewhere. It is really endless. We are little switchboard centers hand­ ling and rerouting the great endless current of information.” As a result, Schramm and Charles Osgood developed a circular model of communication. The participants exchange roles of source/encoder and receiver/decoder. However, even this model, based on certain concepts derived from the transmission model, has its limitations for some scholars. Conceiving of people as switchboards of information processing does not adequately explain how an advertisement may tug at our heart strings and evoke deep-ranging yet differing emotions in people or how people may see the same message very differently. For that we have to look at other theoretical traditions.

Discussion Questions: Imagine a small classified ad on Craigslist that simply says “Baby shoes for sale. Never used.” Explain the ad in terms of the transmission model, then consider how these six words may evoke thoughts or feelings with you. Does the transmission model of communication adequately describe your feelings as well?


  critical theory A theoretical approach broadly influenced by Marxist notions of the role of ideology, exploitation, capitalism, and the economy in understanding and eventually transforming society.

  cultural studies An interdisciplinary framework for studying communication that rejects the scientific approach while investigating the role of culture in creating and maintaining social relations and systems of power.

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A typical critique of transmission models of communication (made by others outside the critical-theory tradition as well as within) is that they treat communication as some kind of separate phenomenon independent of the people who are engaging in communication. Its technological orientation may explain an electronic signal well, but it falls far short when trying to explain the deeper meaning behind someone reading a morning paper. Defining humans as a type of switchboard center, as Schramm does, does not explain how media economics may influence what paper we are able to read or if we even have an Internet connection—nor does it help us better understand the ways in which power, identity, and a host of other factors affect how we make and share meaning through communication. In contrast, critical theory is broadly influenced by Marxist notions of ideology, exploitation, capitalism, and the economy in understanding and eventually transforming society. There are many branches of critical theory, not all of which focus on media and mass communication, and they often disagree with each other on fundamental points. We will explore cultural studies, which tend to focus more on mass communication. To understand a cultural-studies approach to the subject of communication, it is important first to see its intellectual heritage through the lens of critical theory and to know how it differs from traditional, or positivist, social science. Critical theorists criticize positivist researchers for applying physical science research methods inappropriately to human behavior. They do not agree that certain statistical techniques, and enough research, can uncover various “natural laws” of society and behavior. Critical theorists not only claim that the process of scientific creation of “fact” is a social and variable process like any other (consider how Pluto has gone from

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being viewed as a planet to now being planetary object 134340), but they also refute that natural laws can be discovered to explain human behavior. They see the drive to predict and better control society as one more form of oppression. In short, critical theorists would say positivists ask uninspiring questions and get uninteresting—if not misleading—answers that largely describe the societal and cultural status quo as unproblematic. Cultural-studies researchers join critical theorists in rejecting the positivist scientific approach. By utilizing a host of disciplines ranging from anthropology and sociology to political science and literary theory, they examine the symbolic environment created by mass media and study their role in culture and society. For these researchers, a television commercial can be a rich source of cultural codes and representations that tell us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways how we as members of society should act and think. Communications scholar James Carey was a leading cultural-studies theorist who developed what he called a ritual view of communication. He claimed that “communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed.”15 From this view, the act of reading a newspaper has less to do with receiving information than with participating in a shared cultural experience that portrays and confirms the world in a certain way. By reading the paper, we are actually participating in a ritual that produces and reproduces certain sociocultural norms played out through our actions and interactions with others.16 The same dynamic can be said to take place with online media, such as posting photos on Flickr or texting a friend—you are not simply transmitting information but are sharing ways of doing things and ways of thinking that actually create the society we live in through our repeated actions.


  James Carey Communications scholar and historian who has shaped a cultural-studies approach to communication theory.

Television: The Future of Convergence We started this chapter by looking at the telephone, an example of a communication technology whose role in convergence you may not have considered. We will end by looking briefly at television, particularly at how convergence has shaped television today and how it will affect its future. We will discuss the invention and development of television in Chapter 5 and focus here on the role convergence has played for this quintessential mass-­ communication technology. Television’s dominance as a mass medium in the latter half of the twentieth century through to today means it has been much discussed, debated, and studied. Television has been blamed for everything from a decline in young people reading to a rise in societal violence. The impact of few mass-­communications technologies has been as striking. Despite disagreement about the degree to which television may affect our culture and society, the belief that television has certain detrimental (or beneficial) effects has influenced everything from government regulation to the kinds of commercials and programming we see. The enormous popularity of television makes it a powerful instrument for teaching people culture and social norms—or at least idealized norms. Television viewing habits changed with the advent of the remote control. Channel-surfing made it easy for people to later name and understand the process of Web surfing that occurs on the Internet. Digital video recorders (DVRs) also changed TV viewing habits. The use of product placement has grown in response

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James Carey was one of the most influential media and communications scholars of the twentieth century.

  product placement A form of advertising in which brand-name goods or services are placed prominently within programming content that is otherwise devoid of advertising, demonstrating the convergence of programming with advertising content.

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  superstation A local TV station that reaches a national audience by beaming its programming nationwide via satellite to local cable systems.

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to advertisers’ fears that viewers fast-forward through commercials when watching recorded programming. Product placement shows a convergence of normal programming with advertisement content, often not recognized as such. Over the years, television has been able to adapt to new methods of distributing content. Over-the-air broadcast towers used to be the primary way that people received their television signals; today cable and satellite systems are dominant. However, cable television systems were first created in 1948 so that viewers in areas where over-the-air signals could not easily reach could get television programming, long before most households had cable systems. The first transatlantic satellite signal was sent in 1962, when television as a mass medium was still not even fifteen years old.17 Entertainment, especially movies and sports programming, played a role in encouraging the growth of cable and satellite–cable partnerships in the 1970s. In 1978, Ted Turner launched WTBS Atlanta as a national superstation, a local TV station that reaches a national audience by beaming its programming nationwide via satellite to local cable systems, which then transmit to local subscribers. In 1980, Turner employed the same technological combination to launch the first twenty-four-hour TV news network, the Cable News Network (CNN). Today, many countries use similar systems for their own national broadcasting. In a country like Indonesia, which has hundreds of islands, a cable system between islands is simply not practical. Using satellite to beam programming to local cable operators, who connect viewers in their areas with cable, has proven to be an economical solution. Television is a major communications industry in its own right. But when it began as a mass medium in the late 1940s, its rapid rise in popularity was seen as a threat by the film industry, which blacklisted actors if they performed on television shows. It took several years for the film industry to realize that television could replace the second- and third-run movie theaters as a source of additional revenues for older films. The specter that the movie industry feared of mass audiences staying home and watching television instead of going out to the movies never materialized; people still went in droves. Today, the tug-of-war between the movie industry and television for attracting audiences continues, even as some film companies own television channels through the process of consolidation. The latest battles have been taking place in the area of 3D, which used to be seen solely in movie theaters. Not only has 3D viewing technology for movies gotten better, but television screens have rapidly caught up; and now 3D television is also on the market. Perhaps one of the biggest areas of convergence is the melding of the television and the personal computer or mobile device. Television is becoming more interactive, encouraging viewers to do things like vote for their favorite American Idol contestants (although still not through the television—they use mobile phones for that). At the same time, a growing number are watching television programming on their PCs, tablets, or smartphones. In the future, it may not matter much whether we think of television as merged with mobile device or mobile

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device as merged with television; we will simply have a high-definition screen with which we can interact, accessing the Web or social media even as we watch our favorite programs.

Discussion Questions: Consider watching the same film on TV, a PC, a tablet, or in a theater. List several ways in which these viewing experiences differ, and identify the relative advantages and disadvantages of each.

LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD This book takes the premise that mass communication as we have known it is fundamentally changing, perhaps to the point where this term is no longer a relevant or accurate description of current communication. Convergence is, broadly speaking, the process where we are seeing these transformations take place on technological, economic, and sociocultural levels. Many of the ramifications of convergence will likely not be realized or fully known for years to come, while others seem to have had immediate and dramatic effects on our media landscape. What we have today is a fascinating and confusing mixture of mass-­ communication industries and business models combining with various emerging digital technologies and communications practices that simultaneously threaten and hold great promise for traditional media companies and the communications  professions. Issues of consumer privacy, of copyright, and of affordable access to the Internet, among other legal, regulatory, and ethical issues, have still to be worked out. The public may finally have some say in the matter in the new digital media environment. Through communication tools that give the public unprecedented power to share information with each other and to “talk back” to those in power, people are able to connect and organize on any number of issues important to them, affecting policy changes through online and offline means. We have already seen the power of online organizing for various politicians in terms of getting donations and engaging young people in political campaigns. Will the Internet and other digital media flourish and produce a rich montage of diverse voices? Or will the emerging global media system be a homogenous blend of commercial banality where news and entertainment are little more than commodities that sit with equally insipid user-generated content? It is still an open question, but dealing responsibly with issues like these is the moral mandate of mass communication in the digital age. In this book, we hope to give you the tools to do so.

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The Nature of “Intermass” Communication

Even before the Internet era, scholars were asking how mass media and interpersonal communication affected each other.18 Where is the dividing line between interpersonal and mass communication in your media world? Is the line disappearing? 1. How long have you had a Facebook page? 2. How often do you update or add content to the page, and what prompts you to do so?

Which ones? Why are you changing your usage patterns? 5. Are you typically on the Web or social media when you watch TV?

3. How would you feel if your professor or a potential employer insisted that you friend them so they can see your page?

6. Do you often text or chat online with friends while watching the same program?

4. Are you starting to spend more time on social media sites other than Facebook?

7. Have you ever uploaded music, videos, or other content to file-sharing sites?

According to World Internet Project research, chances are good that you have participated in many if not most of these activities.19 This shows that the line between interpersonal and mass communication is a blurry one indeed.

FURTHER READING Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. Henry Jenkins (2008) NYU Press. The Coming Convergence: Surprising Ways Diverse Technologies Interact to Shape Our World and Change the Future. Stanley Schmidt (2008) Prometheus Books. Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field. August Grant, Jeffrey Wilkinson (eds.) (2008) Oxford University Press. Media Organizations and Convergence: Case Studies of Media Convergence Pioneers (LEA’s Communication Series). Gracie Lawson-Borders (2005) Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. The History of the Telephone. Herbert Casson (2006) Cosimo Classics. America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940. Claude Fischer (1994) University of ­California Press. The History of Wireless: How Creative Minds Produced Technology for the Masses. Ira Brodsky (2008) Telescope Books. Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication. John Durham Peters (1999) University of Chicago Press. Understanding Media Theory. Kevin Williams (2003) Oxford University Press. Understanding Media Cultures: Social Theory and Mass Communication, 2nd ed. Nick Stevenson (2002) Sage Publications. Theories of Communication: A Short Introduction. Armand Mattelart, Michèle Mattelart (1998) Sage Publications.

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Communication Theories: Origins, Methods, and Uses in the Mass Media, 5th ed. Werner J. Severin, James W. Tankard Jr. (2001) Addison Wesley Longman. Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. Robert W. McChesney (2013) The New Press. What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives. Michael Dertouzos (1997) HarperEdge.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 38 Education and Media 39 What Is Media Literacy? 40 What Makes Mediated Communication Different? 43 Early Concerns of Media Effects 44 Media Grammar 47 Implications of Commercial Media 53 Media Bias 56 Developing Critical Media-Literacy Skills

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2 Media Literacy in the Digital Age


n February 9, 2014, Missouri football player Michael Sam announced in an ESPN interview that he was gay, paving the way for him to become the first openly gay player in the National Football League (NFL).1 Although Sam made his announcement via traditional news media, including ESPN and The New York Times, the real national discussion about Sam’s entry into professional football followed online in the social media arena. Twitter exploded with activity shortly after Sam’s historic revelation. One example of a popular tweet welcoming Sam into the NFL world came from Richie Incognito, a pro football player who himself had been criticized for bullying another player by using homophobic slurs: “It takes guts to do what you did. I wish u nothing but the best.”2 Within hours, on February 10, 2014, users had retweeted Incognito’s original posting 361 times and favorited it 299 times. But Sam wasn’t the first professional athlete to come out as gay. On April 29, 2013, Jason Collins, center for the Washington Wizards, also revealed his sexual orientation to an unsuspecting public. And more than twenty years prior, in 1981, Czech American tennis star Martina Navratilova made that aspect of her private life public, a similar announcement that prompted a vastly different reaction from the media. “The media certainly roasted me,” Navratilova told Democracy Now! “I had my share of, you know, ‘Here’s Martina’s love nest,’ or ‘Good Versus Evil,’ as one columnist headed a column about me playing against Chris Evert. So, it was pretty nasty, but, you know, you just kind of deal with it.”3 Navratilova was pleased to see the positive coverage of Collins and surprised that the media wanted to discuss the issue. “I certainly didn’t get an invitation to speak on Good Morning America, because it was, like, still a taboo subject,” she said. “It was such a negative subject, it made headlines, but in a very bad way.” Comparing the varying reactions to these announcements across the years raises interesting questions about the role of media in our society. Did the media gradually help change our attitudes about gay rights, or did the media simply follow gradual changes in public opinion? What part might entertainment have played,


Define media literacy.


Explain how mediated and nonmediated communication differ.


Define the role of semiotics and framing in influencing our understanding of the world and media content.


Define media grammar and describe its various aspects in different media.


Explain how commercial forces influence media organizations and content.


Define media bias and its effects on media content.


Use basic media-literacy skills to improve your critical thinking when consuming media content.


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including sitcoms such as Will & Grace that feature gay characters, in increasing our acceptance of gays? Also consider how the media outlet itself may influence the acceptance of stories. If Collins had penned his essay in The Advocate, a prominent gay magazine, instead of a mainstream sports magazine such as Sports Illustrated, do you think other media outlets and the public would have been as receptive?

We live in a media society. Mass media surround and influence our world in a variety of ways. They entertain us, they inform us, and they sell us everything from household products to political candidates. Although we often tend to study media and mass communications as something separate from our culture, society, and lives, the fact is that media are just as real as the “real world.” Media are pervasive in modern life, making it more important than ever to understand how their messages may influence us. We must look critically at all media we receive and understand something about how media organizations work as businesses, how they fit into other aspects of society, and how they can influence culture and manipulate public opinion. In this chapter, we explain some basic principles of media literacy in both nondigital and digital media while teaching you to analyze critically the media messages you encounter. Discussion Questions: Compare news articles about Michael Sam and Jason Collins announcing they are gay with news coverage of Martina Navratilova’s similar announcement. What differences do you see in how the stories were depicted, and what effect do you think such framing had on public opinion about homosexuality?

Education and Media In school, we learn to read, write, and do arithmetic. We learn about history, other cultures, literature, science, and politics. We learn athletic skills and teamwork; we can even learn about art, mechanics, computer programming, and cooking. But we also learn much from our daily and extensive interactions with media content—some may even argue that we learn more of practical value from daily exposure to media than to class content during a typical school day. The common component of the four functions of mass communication mentioned in the previous chapter—surveillance, correlation, cultural transmission, and entertainment— is that they essentially educate and inform us. This raises a significant question: If media are so pervasive in our lives, why aren’t we studying them in the same way that we study geography or biology, for example? Why can we take a class in high school on how to dismantle a car engine but not one that teaches us how to deconstruct our modern systems of media and mass communications? The question highlights two interesting and related issues. First, it shows that education, like media, is not something separate from our lives. We are learning all the time, even when not in a formal academic setting such as a classroom or when doing homework. Second, given that we are learning all the time through our interactions with each other and with media content, we must strive to ensure

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Chapter 2  >>  Media Literacy in the Digital Age


that what we are learning is accurate and useful. This requires skills to examine where that learning is coming from and how it may be affecting our thought processes. Educators have recognized a growing need to teach media-literacy skills to school-age children, starting as young as kindergarten or elementary school and continuing to high school graduation. Some countries, such as Canada and Australia, have taken the lead in media-literacy education, while the United States generally lags behind. This is changing, however, and a growing number of states, such as New Jersey, have implemented statewide media-literacy guidelines for K–12 schools.

What Is Media Literacy? Being able to read a book, navigate a website or post a tweet, and recognize that a background music change signals a scary part of a movie are all types of media literacy. Some fall under what we would consider the traditional meaning of the term “literacy,” and others can be classified as visual literacy or computer literacy. Media literacy encompasses all these skills and many more, and the various approaches to media education differ to some degree on what exactly media-literacy education should entail.   media literacy Media literacy can be defined as the process of critically analyzing media content by considering its particular presentation, its underlying political or social The process of interacting with and messages, and its media ownership or regulation that may affect the type of concritically analyzing media content by considering its particular tent we receive. Some approaches to media education emphasize media-creation presentation, its underlying skills as a way to examine our media critically, through either creative media propolitical or social messages, and its jects or alternative media production such as recreating a popular commercial ownership or regulation issues that from a feminist perspective. may affect what is presented and in what form. Developing media literacy is an ongoing process, not simply a goal. Even though you can never attain perfection, it is always possible to improve your media literacy and thus become a wiser media user. The importance of media in contemporary society makes it imperative that audience members think critically about media content to better control their actions and not be controlled by media messages. Learning new skills in creating media, such as taking courses on graphic design or video production, can help further your media literacy. Media-literacy scholar W. James Potter talks about building “knowledge structures,” ways to visualize developing one’s level of knowledge on a given topic or topics.4 If, for example, you have a basic understanding of the history of the World Wide Web, and someone claims to have been on Facebook since 2001, you can be confident that he or she is incorrect: Facebook was not created until 2004 (and then only for Harvard students). Still, media literacy entails more than simply remembering historical facts. Media consumers should always question what they see, hear, or otherwise experience when receiving or interacting with mediated communication. Is a news story biased? Why is it even Learning media-literacy skills has become even more important for students today.

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news? Does a popular television show or video game encourage gender or racial stereotypes or antisocial behavior? What is an advertiser really trying to sell and to whom? These are just a sample of the kinds of questions critical media consumers should ask. It is important to develop knowledge not just about the media but also about the larger social, political, and economic forces that influence media content, media production, and communication technologies in general. To that end, we must first step back and consider what a medium is. Then we will look at some of the concerns people have had over the years about the effects that media may or may not have on us.

What Makes Mediated Communication Different? An enduring and fundamental concern about the media is that what we see and hear through mediated communication—the signs, symbols, and words from books, the Web, television, and radio—can somehow affect us in ways that nonmediated communication does not. This assumption has led to a large body of research on media effects, which we discuss in more detail in Chapter 12. Some theoretical frameworks offer explanations of how we may make sense of the world through media and how the media messages we receive seem somehow natural.

SEMIOTICS Semiotics, the study of signs and symbols, goes back in some form to Plato and Aristotle. Contemporary semiotics has been greatly influenced by Ferdinand de The study of signs and symbols. Saussure, the father of linguistics, and his notion of signs as having dual properties. These properties are the signifier, or the form; and the signified, or what the form represents (some semioticians propose a third component, an interpretant, between these two). For example, an image of a rose, the signifier, may signify any number of things, or signifieds, depending on the context (see Figure 2-1). An image of a rose on a Valentine’s Day card may mean one thing, whereas a rose tattoo with blood-dipped thorns on the arm of a biker may mean something else entirely. Context plays a major role in the audience’s understanding of the signified, even when the signifier remains the same. The power of signs to affect our thinking should not be underestimated. René Magritte’s famous painting of a pipe that also says “This is not a pipe” illustrates how we typically take the sign as reality. Most people, when shown his painting and asked what it is, will reply, “A pipe.” But Magritte is absolutely correct: his picture of a pipe is not actually a pipe—it is simply a picture of a pipe. We must also remember that in semiotics, “sign” does not simply refer to visual images but words as well. Words could be considered a more complex form of sign, for we have to learn that certain sounds carry particular meanings (which are entirely arbitrary). There is no logical reason that the color red is called “red” in English, “rojo” in Spanish, and Rene Magritte’s famous “This is not a pipe” picture “aka” in Japanese; all of these are simply linguistic conventions for those reminds us how we mistakenly understand the particular languages. representation of something as the thing itself.   semiotics

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Figure 2-1


  Semiotic Signifier and Signified Signifier a symbol, sound, or image that gives meaning

Signified the concept the signifier represents


Love Happiness Thoughtfulness Relationship Wedding Romance Birthday Anniversary Apology Guilt Illness Death Funeral


Sign the association of the signifier with the signified

When Gertrude Stein said, “A rose is a rose is a rose,” she was highlighting the semiotic principle that we subconsciously associate items, such as a rose, with imagery and emotions. A rose (the signifier) can mean many different things (the signified), depending on the context. Examining this relationship (the sign) deepens our understanding of the ways we generate meaning when we communicate.

Although this point may seem rather obvious, another semiotic insight is not quite so evident. Once we learn what certain sounds mean (or what certain visual images mean), we take what we have learned as natural and accept it largely without question. This fact makes the creation and use of signs extremely powerful because it not only influences our thinking but even directs certain behaviors. Think of what you do without question, for example, whenever you are driving and come to a stop sign. Similarly, an indexical sign is visual but signifies something else to which it is not actually related except by association. Consider the image of a floppy disk in most software programs that indicates the “save file” function. Most computers in use today do not even have floppy-disk drives, yet we understand what the image has come to represent. Some scholars argue that semiotics is the heart of communication. Noted semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco, in his book A Theory of Semiotics, asserts that “Every act of communication to or between human beings—or any other intelligent biological or mechanical apparatus—presupposes a signification system as its necessary condition.” In other words, without a common understanding of what signs mean, whether they are visual or lingual, we would not be able to communicate. Some knowledge of semiotics is required for a deeper understanding of the processes of communication and the production of meaning among people and in cultures. It is also especially important for advertising professionals who seek insights into how target audiences may receive various ad and branding campaigns.

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FRAMING   framing The presentation and communication of a message in a particular way that influences our perception of it.

Fox News and MSNBC framed their coverage of the Keystone Pipeline quite differently, with Fox News emphasizing jobs—Keystone pipeline would create “tens of thousands of jobs”—and MSNBC focusing on the environmental impact: “New Canadian pipeline, new environmental problems.”

  echo effect A phenomenon that occurs when people surround themselves with online voices that echo their own, reinforcing their views and the belief that those opinions are in the majority when in fact they may not be.

All forms of mass communication, including news, employ framing, which works in much the same manner as signs in semiotics. It relies on the notion that we classify, organize, and interpret things into certain schema, or frameworks, to simplify the complex. We have to do this just to get through the day; if we carefully considered and analyzed every message we received, we would never be able to leave the house in the morning. Instead, we take mental shortcuts with much of what we encounter, letting some things go unexamined as we carry on with our lives. Frames act much like signs and symbols in semiotics: Once accepted, they appear natural and go largely unquestioned. They also shape our perceptions of people, places, issues, and events. Two words—“rights” versus “benefits”—provide a simple example of framing. If an Iraq War veteran is lobbying the government to obtain better health care and services for injuries, demanding veterans’ rights has a different connotation than asking for veterans’ benefits. The term “benefits” suggests something extra, a privilege perhaps not available to other people and therefore unequal or unfair. Arguing for veterans’ rights, on the other hand, suggests something fundamental that is being with withheld. Framing may sound simply like spin, but it is not. We all frame our world, and good communicators know how to frame debates in ways that favor their views and disadvantage those of opponents. A persuasive communicator who wins the framing battle also likely wins that particular debate. Pollster and political communications consultant Frank Luntz helps conservative politicians reframe words to persuade others. See Table 2-1 for examples. Similarly, George Lakoff, UC Berkeley professor of linguistics and cognitive science, discusses liberal framing, often chastising Democrats for failing to employ persuasive depictions of controversial issues such as health care. See Table 2-2 for examples of liberal reframing. Note how some of these have successfully become the dominant term for the issue, just as some terms have for conservative frames. Framing is of great consequence in today’s world because of the ubiquity of mass-communication media. It is easy to see how this media coverage can shape our perceptions of the world, especially when “framed” conversations are intensified by the echo effect, a phenomenon that occurs when people surround themselves with online voices that echo their own, reinforcing their views and the belief that those opinions are in the majority when in fact they may not be. But, as we will see, concerns about media effects are not new.

  Reframing Political Issues for Conservatives

Table 2-1

George Lakoff is a noted cognitive linguist who discusses the effects of framing on the public’s perception of a range of social and political matters.

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Tax cuts

Tax relief

Inheritance tax

Death tax

Undocumented workers/aliens

Illegal immigrants

Drilling for oil

Exploring for energy

Source: Frank Luntz, Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.

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Table 2-2


  Reframing Political Issues for Liberals



Tax subsidies

Corporate welfare (Ralph Nader)

Gay marriage

Same-sex marriage

Tax increases for the wealthy

Paying a fair share

Abortion debate

Pro-choice or women’s rights

Early Concerns of Media Effects Over the last century, public concern has arisen about the possible effects of each new medium of mass communication as it has emerged. Questions have been asked about each medium’s impact on culture, political processes, children’s values and behaviors, and the like. In the 1920s, much of the public became worried about the depiction of sex, violence, and lawlessness in film. In recent years, questions have proliferated about how the Internet and video games may influence us, even perhaps altering how we think. Such anxieties have a long history. In the 1800s, critics warned that newspapers caused juvenile crime. Moralists believed that the flow of sensational news stories about crime and vice would lead people to imitate such immoral behavior. In 1888, Punch magazine attributed Jack the Ripper’s crimes committed in ­W hitechapel, a rough inner-city district of London, to “highly coloured pictorial advertisements.” Alarm about the effects of media on children has even deeper roots. We know that in ancient Greece, philosophers Socrates and Plato worried about the influence of literacy on children. Plato was especially apprehensive about the morally corrupting resonance of poetry, particularly allegorical tales such as Homer’s Battles of the Gods, which he sought to ban.5 In 360 bce, Plato offered this reasoning: Children cannot distinguish between what is allegory and what isn’t, and opinions formed at that age are usually difficult to eradicate or change; it is therefore of the utmost importance that the first stories they hear shall aim at producing the right moral effect. PLATO, THE REPUBLIC

It is hard today to appreciate the profound effect writing once had on society. No longer was a good memory prized as it was in a nonliterate oral culture, because memorization was not needed to store information. The form of storytelling changed with writing because repetitive phrases were no longer needed as memory prompts for storytellers, and the rhythm and cadences of what was written differed from what had been spoken. Moreover, storytellers could lose control of their words in written form. Someone could take a person’s words and twist their meaning, with no chance for an immediate response or perhaps any response at all. In fact, the author of a work had no way of knowing who might read it or when. Greek children sneaking off with a scroll of poetry to read in secret may seem comical; but in a fundamental

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sense, this is no different than kids today sneaking into an R-rated movie in the multiplex or surreptitiously removing the parental controls on the cable TV service or computer. Plato’s issues with writing as a new medium relate to its particular media grammar, knowledge of which is integral to the development of media literacy.

Media Grammar   media grammar The underlying rules, structures, and patterns by which a medium presents itself and is used and understood by the audience.

First, a critical consumer of media messages must understand media grammar, the underlying rules, structures, and patterns by which a medium presents itself and is used and understood by the audience. Each medium of mass communication presents its messages uniquely. With media familiar through widespread use or exposure, we do not often think about the extent to which media grammar affects our perceptions—what we see and how we see it. In many respects, it becomes background in much the same way that semiotic signs become natural to us. Nevertheless, media grammar can have profound implications for our understanding of media content. We become more aware of it when we encounter a new medium whose rules we do not yet know. Here, we will look briefly at the main forms of media, the basics of their particular grammar, and their potential effects on our perceptions and expectations.


Even without knowing the language, we can often recognize what kind of foreign newspaper we are viewing simply from the look of the publication.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION: What visual aspects of the newspaper help us identify its type of publication and its type of target audience?

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Print media, partly due to their long history compared to other types of mass communication, have developed a very sophisticated media grammar. Everything about a book—its physical dimensions, the artwork on its jacket, the size and style of the typeface, whether it is hardcover or paperback, whether it contains pictures or not—conveys important messages to the potential buyer beyond the actual content. Within a book itself, several aspects of media grammar have evolved over the years. Spacing between words to aid reading comprehension is an early example, as are page numbering, tables of contents, indexes, and chapter headings. Many of these conventions we now take for granted actually took years to become widely adopted and standard in books. Newspapers have their own types of media grammar that have also evolved over time and that continue to change. An obvious example is the number of color photos and graphics in newspapers today compared to forty years ago. Because space is limited in a newspaper, more graphics means less room for text. Many media critics and journalists have complained that this packaging of news into relatively short, easy-to-read units accompanied by splashy visuals does readers a disservice by not providing them with the necessary depth of information. Proponents of the trend argue that to compete with television and other visual media for audience attention, newspapers must present news in formats that accommodate readers’ busy lifestyles.

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Most newspapers are organized into sections, such as sports, business, and local news. Not only do these help organize information so that readers can quickly find stories that interest them, but they also create parameters for what types of stories to expect. Sections also help define where certain advertisers prefer to appear in the paper, showing how media grammar can intersect with commercial interests. Magazines use sophisticated graphic and design techniques, even more so than newspapers, and feature more long-form writing, often with just one or two articles per page and multipage pieces. Advertising often takes up a full page, and in some magazines it is hard to tell immediately if something is an ad rather than graphics at the beginning of a feature. Magazines combine certain elements of books and newspapers in their media grammar. Because of their length, they usually have a table of contents (many also have an advertiser index) that helps readers rapidly access specific articles. Like newspapers, magazines are often divided into subject-related sections within their topic areas. Given that the grammar for print media developed over hundreds of years, we have adapted surprisingly quickly to the rise of electronic media, especially audio and, later, video.


  actualities Edited audio clips from interviews with people.



An unseen announcer or narrator talking while other activity takes place, either on radio or during a television scene.

Radio and recorded music have their own grammar, one based only on sound. Radio uses a combination of audio techniques to achieve different ends. These include volume changes, multiple audio tracks, actualities ­ (i.e., edited audio clips from interviews with people), sound effects, and voice-overs, all of which can be used to convey information, capture attention, or evoke a mood or scene. Recorded music typically conforms to particular stylistic conventions, especially regarding length (less than five minutes a song) and music format. Popular music genres, such as hip-hop, rock, and country, have certain rhythms, lyrical styles, and sounds that make them clearly distinguishable. This underlying media grammar of specific categories or genres makes it easier to market and promote artists. Once again, we see how media grammar can interact with the economic interests of the media. Radio stations brand themselves by the genres they generally play, making it easier for audiences to pick stations that play music they like. Still, putting music into genres such as this has its drawbacks. Someone with a sound or style that does not readily conform to a well-established genre may find it harder to get airplay because radio stations are reluctant to play something that does not fit nicely into their established formats. An artist may also find it difficult to get a recording contract in the first place, for a recording label will not want to sign someone it believes radios will not want to promote. Even the apparently chaotic talk radio has a well-defined media grammar. It is one of the few traditional mass-communication formats to include frequent interaction between media producers or hosts and the audience. Despite its highly interactive nature, however, those who call in are obviously in a subordinate position, as they do not control how long they speak and can even be disconRush Limbaugh is a conservative commentator, considered nected at any time. the father of today’s politically oriented talk show format.

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Although radio developed years before television became a mass medium, and some of the earliest television shows were taken directly from popular radio programs, media producers and audiences had already developed a fairly complex visual grammar, thanks in large part to the popularity of movies.

FILM AND TELEVISION Film and television have much shorter histories than print, but they have developed an intricate media grammar based on editing, camera angles, lighting, movement, and sound. In the early history of film, for example, most movies were only a few minutes long and either simply recorded daily activities or essentially filmed short stage plays. Filmmakers started producing more sophisticated story lines for their short films and introduced a technique unique to film at the time—crosscut scenes. By crosscutting different scenes to simulate events happening simultaneously in two different locations (think of the classic scenes of a train heading down the tracks and a woman tied to the tracks by the villain), filmmakers were able to tell much more complex and dramatic stories. Further, increasing the speed between crosscut scenes increased dramatic tension. With many more such tools at their disposal, today’s filmmakers are able to convey a lot of information, all through visual or audio techniques. Think of how we respond to background music and strong shadows in horror movies, or how we understand a dream sequence or flashback, or how we visually distinguish good from bad characters even In what has been dubbed geek-chic TV, The Big Bang Theory, the most popular comedy since Friends, follows the exploits of another group of before the plot or dialog has revealed their true natures. friends, most of whom are nerdy scientists. This multi-cam sitcom The media grammar of television fiction employs many prompts mirthful responses from its devoted and enormous TV of the same techniques seen in movies, although television audience with a prominent laugh track.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: With closed captions instead of volume on, watch an production budgets are, of course, much smaller than movie episode of your favorite sitcom that has a laugh track. Do you chuckle budgets. Consider the media grammar of an average sitcom— as readily without the auditory cues? it is usually shot on a set, with perhaps less than half a dozen locations (almost always indoors), and the actors come and go as if on a stage. The camera is usually stationary, although multiple camera angles are used; and punch   laugh track lines are reinforced by a laugh track, which in some sitcoms can be timed with almost clockwork precision (even if the line isn’t particularly funny). A television sitcom device that Other types of television shows have their own media grammars, such as game generates prerecorded laughter timed to coincide with punch lines shows, soap operas, talk shows, and news. Television news, especially, has borrowed of jokes. some elements of online media grammar—which had originally borrowed heavily from television for graphical user interfaces such as windows and digital video. Examples include multiple windows on the television screen showing different kinds of information and scrolling news tickers across the bottom of the screen giving updates.

Discussion Questions: Consider the media grammar of a popular film, focusing especially on how camera angles give the audience cues as to what to think and feel about the characters. Come up with as many different camera techniques and their possible meanings as you can and compare with other students’ interpretations.

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DIGITAL-MEDIA GRAMMAR We may be thoroughly familiar and comfortable with the Internet and social media, but many people throughout the world have limited or no contact with the online realm, whose grammar is still developing. The Web of 2004 bears little resemblance to the Web today, and the Web will look even more different ten years from now. Even with constant changes in the Web, certain ­elements of media grammar have been established. Hypertext, for example, is generally either underlined or   hypertext otherwise set apart typographically or graphically from nonlinked text. More and Text online linked by HTML coding more web designers are following an unwritten rule to have a website logo in the to another web page or website or to a different part of the same web upper-left corner of the screen linked to the website’s home page. Icons in the page. form of buttons, badges, and other symbols create a visual, interactive language that lets us interact easily with the content and inform others on our social networks what we are reading or doing. Other examples include more or less standardized icons for functions such as printing, opening a document, playing a video, emailing a document, and zooming in or out on maps. The media grammar of digital media evolves with our communication devices. Today, we think nothing of swiping across the screen on our mobile phone to move to a new window or pinching the screen to zoom out. These kinds of touch-screen interfaces in turn affect the design and features of websites, further changing the look and feel of the Web. The digital media grammar has adopted freely from traditional media forms that it has absorbed, but it has also continued to innovate and create new ways for us to interact with the media. For example, the shift from a point-and-click interaction with a mouse to touch-screen swipes and “pinches” to manipulate the content helps make us aware that there is nothing natural about how we use media today. The same principle applies to how the evolution of our current media system operates and how it has evolved, even though we are often so embedded in that system that it is hard to step outside of it and examine it Many websites share certain conventions that users have come to expect, critically. such as a link in the top left-hand corner back to the home page.

Implications of Commercial Media Even in open and democratic societies with a free press, economic factors and corporate decisions often influence what is and is not covered in the news and what kind of entertainment is created for the general public. Rarely do typical media consumers think of the commercial factors that shape the content they see every day, forces that affect everything from what types of entertainment shows are produced to what kind of news is reported. These activities happen at the local, national, and international levels. At the local level, reducing the number of reporters at a news organization to save money can result in a noticeable drop in local coverage, such as coverage of area schools. The newspaper company may save money, but the public is poorer for the lessened coverage of local issues. A company that advertises heavily in a local newspaper may gain undue influence in the paper’s decision as to whether to publish articles

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Marshall McLuhan International cultural icon and provocative media prophet Marshall McLuhan is known today less for a prolific body of writing than for a couple of prescient precepts so oft repeated they now border on the cliché. Yet the scholar who coined aphorisms as familiar as “the global village” and “the medium is the message” leaves a colorful pioneering legacy as a public intellectual few academics can claim. “Academic” was nonetheless a profession the twenty-yearold undergraduate expressly rejected in 1930s Western Canada. As Terence Gordon explains, “He was learning in spite of his professors (emphasis in original), but he would become a professor of English in spite of himself.”6 After receiving a BA from the University of Manitoba, McLuhan went on to Cambridge University, where he finished another BA (1936), required to proceed to an MA (1939) and a PhD (1942). Following a period of agnosticism in his youth, McLuhan became a devout Roman Catholic (a conversion his Baptist mother had discouraged); and from 1946 until experiencing a stroke in 1979, he taught at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. With spectacular sales of Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964) came pop-culture fame, a degree of mainstream recognition arguably unprecedented for a North American academic. During the cultural revolution of the sixties and seventies, McLuhan counted iconic figures as diverse as then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and hippie guru Timothy Leary among those he influenced. Marshall advised Pierre on television appearances and allegedly inspired Tim’s buzz phrase “turn on, tune in, drop out.”7 “Whatcha doin’, Marshall McLuhan?” was a recurring line on Laugh-In, a popular TV comedy of the era. In 1969, Playboy made a serious attempt to answer such a question in a

lengthy interview with McLuhan at home in the Toronto suburbs where he lived with his wife and several children. Woody Allen, in his 1977 tour de force Annie Hall, even cast McLuhan as himself in a cameo scene satirizing a pedantic and pretentious media professor. McLuhan, however, was not simply famous for being famous. A rare visionary, he foresaw in the sixties, long before the Internet, a global village created by the movement from print to electronic media. And one of his most significant and enduring contributions to the yet undefined area of media literacy was a directive to look beyond the superficial content of the message and consider how the intrinsic, various, and complex effects of the medium— another message in itself—affect our perceptions. In spite of, or perhaps because of, his arresting pronouncements and his celebrity status, the work of the Canadian media theorist has been denounced by some for dilettantism, cryptic rhetoric, and empirically unsubstantiated claims that unabashedly baffle, among other perceived flaws. McLuhan, characterizing his academic inquiries as “probes,” remained apparently unfazed by critics, even wryly professing to share some of their confusion: “I don’t pretend to understand it. After all, my stuff is very difficult.”8

critical of it by threatening to withdraw its advertising. Or a newspaper publisher with other business interests in tourism or real estate, for example, may influence coverage by discouraging or even forbidding reports on certain crimes that may hurt these commercial ventures. Such manipulation of content is not confined to small-town media outlets. In 1998, HarperCollins, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, cancelled a book by Chris Patten, former British governor of Hong Kong. East and West was reportedly highly critical of China’s policies, and Murdoch at the time was courting China to accept Murdoch’s Star TV satellite and cable programs.

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Similarly, a few years prior, he removed the BBC from Star TV when Chinese leaders expressed displeasure at the BBC’s reports on the killings in Tiananmen Square in June 1989. More recently, accusations swirled about Murdoch’s undue influence on the 2013 elections in his native Australia, where he controls 70 percent of the capital city news circulation. The publishing mogul was allegedly using his newspaper headlines and even front pages to promote his candidate and party of choice.9 These incidents are not meant to illustrate that Rupert Murdoch is particularly greedy or selfish; similar stories of corporate decisions influencing what we see or do not see can be told about all of the major media corporations and will be covered in more detail throughout the book, especially Chapter 10 on media ethics. Discussion Questions: Would you be willing to pay an annual television licensing fee if television networks and cable companies promised to show fewer commercials? If so, how much would you be willing to pay? Would you pay more to see no commercials?

COMMERCIAL-MEDIA DEBATE Media scholar Robert McChesney has written several books that reveal how corporate media have adversely affected the quality of communications content we receive and how media companies have lobbied the government to further their own corporate interests at the expense of the public interest. He claims that today’s corporate media giants actually harm our democracy and political processes in a number of ways. These range from poor news coverage that does not challenge the status quo (especially when it comes to media companies’ own business investments) to banal entertainment that dulls our senses and incessant advertising that implies happiness is found through ­consumerism—although, as we discuss later, most media outlets depend on that very advertising to exist. Media scholar Robert McChesney founded Free Press to promote media reform and to According to McChesney, the comweaken the power of corporate media giants. mercial nature of mass communications underlies all mass media. And all would agree, regardless of political ideology, that it takes money to run a media organization. The question becomes one of where the money comes from—the commercial marketplace or public sources of funding. Arguably, media companies are businesses just like any other; and a business that fails to turn a profit will fail to do right by its private owners or shareholders if it is publicly traded. In recent history, media businesses have been among the most profitable of any industry, with profit margins typically around 20 percent on an annual basis.

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On the other hand, critics of our corporate media system argue that media companies are not like other companies, that their “products”—the signs and symbols that shape our culture and views of the world through the news and entertainment we consume—influence our thinking and behavior considerably more than other types of products. Therefore, media companies should be publicly funded so that they are not as beholden to the marketplace and the influence of market logic on media content. Proponents of commercial media identify the profit motive as a key incentive for media companies to produce quality content that people will want to watch or


Mobile Telephony in the Developing World Despite the prevalence of the Internet and personal computers in the United States and other industrialized countries in Europe, South America, and the Asia-Pacific region, an even stronger competitor to the Internet and PC has emerged in the developing world—the mobile phone. Mobile telephony can hold several advantages over the Internet in many developing countries. First, poor telecommunications infrastructures in these countries often make landline calls expensive and sporadic at best

for those who have phones. Without adequate phone lines, let alone consistent electric power, it is nearly impossible to depend on a PC or regular Internet service. Many of these countries do not have cable television wires, relying instead on satellite transmission of cable content, when allowed by the governments. In countries such as Malaysia, for example, owning a satellite dish is a crime.

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Mobile telephones provide an easy and relatively cheap way to communicate, and text messaging allows further mass coordination so that the phone becomes part of a larger, ad hoc, mass-communication system. They also foster a sense of community among phone users. In Nigeria, for example, women generally run the various stalls in the urban market, coordinating prices with sellers in different locations by mobile phone. What’s more, recognizing their common interests and grievances, these sellers joined together to try to alleviate some of the greater problems they faced. Kenya’s M-Pesa, a mobile payment system, has become the primary source of remittances by Kenyans in the city to relatives in the countryside. So popular is M-Pesa that its transactions comprise 31 percent of ­Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP).10 M-Pesa was launched by mobile telecommunications company Safaricom, which has 19 million customers in Kenya, 15 million of whom use M-Pesa. Africa’s vast number of mobile phone users, estimated at 700 million or 70 percent of the African population, and the lack of bank access for many, means that mobile phone payments are a promising growth area.11 It shows how technology and economics converge to help developing countries leapfrog rich industrialized countries in some areas. As low-cost smartphones expand their reach in the developing world, and companies such as Google begin to deliver free, high-speed, wireless Internet service through its “Project Loon” using aerial balloons, mobile Internet becomes another compelling advantage to mobile media.

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read. The Disney Company, for example, is among the most profitable of major publicly owned media companies in the United States. And it is recognized for its quality entertainment products, including award-winning motion pictures, recorded music, and television (it owns the ABC television network and ESPN, the most profitable channel on television). Critics claim, however, that financial pressures can lead media companies, especially publicly traded companies, to focus on the short term with decisions such as cutting costs or laying off staff, actions that may increase near-term profits but decrease the quality of a product such as news coverage. These profits may be immediate but not sustainable. Critics also assert that consumers actually have fewer choices than we believe when it comes to media content, thanks in large part to the concentration of media ownership.

Discussion Questions: Imagine a media system that is entirely publicly funded and government run. What problems might arise with such a system, and how might programming be different?

CONCENTRATION OF MEDIA OWNERSHIP Economies of scale have financial incentives for most companies. Strictly speaking, economy of scale refers to the decrease in unit manufacturing cost that results from mass production. Media enterprises can reduce costs and increase profit by becoming larger and reaching a larger market with their content. Of course, just getting bigger doesn’t necessarily translate into greater economies of scale, but it is the basic reason behind a fundamental trend in media over the past half-century. Successful media enterprises have acquired, either through purchase or merger, other media enterprises and have thereby grown in size and scope. Newspaper companies have bought other newspaper companies; radio-­ station groups have bought other radio-station groups. Cross-media enterprises have acquired other media enterprises, sometimes extending internationally as well. The result is a media system that is increasingly large, multifaceted, and global in ownership. These companies compete with other large media enterprises and across international borders. Some critics have argued that despite the possible economies of scale, media conglomerates and media monopolies (i.e., when only one media organization serves the public or community) have a significant downside. Greater concentration of ownership, or fewer owners owning more media, results in less diversity of media voices and the possible silencing of minority and non-mainstream views— a disservice to the public. In his book New Media Monopoly, Ben H. Bagdikian, one of the most vocal critics of concentrated media ownership, presents evidence that during the 1990s, a small number of the country’s largest corporations purchased more public communications power than ever before. In 1983, the biggest media merger to date was a $340 million deal involving the Gannett Company, the newspaper chain that bought Combined Communications Corporation, whose assets included billboards, newspapers, and broadcast stations. In 1996, Disney’s acquisition of

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Despite News Corporation’s split into two separate companies in 2013, one focusing on entertainment and the other on publishing, both are still independently in the top tier of media conglomerates based on company value.

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Capital Cities/ABC cost $19 billion. In 2001, AOL’s acquisition of Time Warner dwarfed even this deal at $160 billion. Although we have not seen deals of this size in the 2000s and 2010s, acquisitions typically continue to occur in the billions of dollars. These include cable provider Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal from parent company General Electric for $30 billion in 2009 and completed in 2013; Google’s purchase of YouTube in October 2006 for $1.6 billion; and the McClatchy newspaper chain purchase of thirty-two Knight-Ridder newspapers in March 2006 for $4.5 billion. These large companies, Bagdikian contends, have built a communications cartel within the United States, a group of independent businesses that collaborate to regulate production, pricing, and marketing of goods. This cartel controls industrial products such as gasoline, refrigerators, or clothing. But also at stake are the symbols—the words and images—that define and shape the culture and political agenda of the country. In other words, a cable provider such as Comcast, which in many markets is the sole provider, now also controls the content from its NBCUniversal media properties. Bagdikian writes, Aided by the digital revolution and the acquisition of subsidiaries that operate at every step in the mass communications process, from the creation of content to its delivery into the home, the communications cartel has exercised stunning influence over national legislation and government agencies, an influence whose scope and power would have been considered scandalous or illegal twenty years ago.

  media oligopoly A marketplace in which media ownership and diversity are severely limited and the actions of any single media group affect its competitors substantially, including determining the content and price of media products for both consumers and advertisers.

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Bagdikian further notes that 99 percent of the daily newspapers in the United States are the only daily in their cities. Similarly, all but a few of the nation’s cable systems are monopolies in their cities. Most of the country’s commercial radio stations are part of national ownership groups, and just a half-dozen formats (e.g., all news, rock, hip-hop, adult contemporary, oldies, easy listening) define programming. The major commercial television networks and their local affiliates carry programs of essentially the same type all across the country. Looked at from this perspective, the media do not offer the diversity in content that one would expect, even as the number of TV or radio channels increase. This system is called a media oligopoly, a marketplace in which media ownership and diversity are severely limited and the actions of any single media group affect its competitors substantially, including determining the content and price of media products for both consumers and advertisers. Nine diversified media giants dominate the media worldwide (see foldout section at the back of this book). Many of these international conglomerates are themselves part of a larger company comprising nonmedia business interests or contain in their financial portfolio significant nonmedia commercial properties and investments. They include a wide range of media or channels of distribution. Note that three of the nine started as computer or technology companies and that Google didn’t even exist until late 1998. Each of these nine companies is responsible for much of what we see, hear, or read in traditional media or interact with on the Web. Of course, these are not the only media companies in the world: McChesney identifies a “second tier” of about fifty large media companies operating at the national or international level, each doing more than $1 billion of business a year. Any of these second-tier companies, in and of themselves, can be considered a huge media power with an array of business interests, although their revenues pale in comparison to the big nine.

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Chapter 2  >>  Media Literacy in the Digital Age

Becoming literate about the concentration of media ownership and consolidation of media companies into ever-larger companies does not entail simply learning the inside scoop on who owns what. As Bagdikian, McChesney, and other scholars have indicated, the power that these media wield has serious political, societal, and cultural repercussions. If much of the media we consume comes from a handful of large conglomerates, it raises questions about the role that media bias, how information may be skewed toward a particular viewpoint, might play in forming our views of politics, society, and culture.

Discussion Questions: Consider your level of media diversity by listing the types of shows you watch, material you read, and music you listen to. Trace three different media in this list back to their corporate parents. Classify your tastes into genres, and compare with someone else to assess the diversity of your media consumption.


  media bias A real or perceived viewpoint held by journalists and news organizations that slants news coverage unfairly, contrary to professional journalism’s stated goals of balanced coverage and objectivity.

Media Bias Both the left and the right claim that the media, especially the news, are biased against them; and both sides can cite various examples in the media, in scholarly studies, and in popular books that supposedly prove their points. If the media make neither side happy, then they must be doing something right, some might say. Still, this rather glib response to an apparent paradox circumvents the very real issue of media bias and how to recognize it. Professional journalism has a strong culture of what used to be called “objectivity” but is now referred to as “fairness and balance,” or the professional duty to cover an issue so that all sides are presented accurately and justly. This also

Daytime TV shows such as The Talk can sometimes introduce formerly taboo or controversial social subjects to the public’s attention.

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means that professional news reporting should not reveal a journalist’s personal views. We tend to think of the news as objective—a belief supported by its media grammar, particularly the camera angles, lighting, distance between the subject and interviewer, sound, and intercut scenes that all affect our perceptions. The “objective point of view” in television news interviews treats the viewer as an observer. Typically, the camera is kept still, with shots over the shoulder of the journalist interviewing a subject. Prior to the interview, the journalist instructs the subject never to look directly into the camera, a privilege reserved for the news anchor or field reporter, who often summarizes or concludes her report in this manner that establishes eye contact with the audience. This grammar encourages the viewer to see significant differences between subject and reporter, specifically, the latter’s greater authority and objectivity. Any notion of objectivity or even balance in news coverage has been challenged for a number of reasons. Many question its very possibility. This becomes especially problematic with news stories that feature various groups who may not self-identify the same way they are identified by news organizations. A framing bias could affect a journalist’s choice of terms, defining someone as a “terrorist” rather than “rebel,” for example. Because most news is about some type of conflict and because conflicts often involve a disagreement over basic facts or even definitions of terms, news organizations often get caught in semantic battles. Another criticism of the balanced approach is that in striving for balance, news organizations can simply become stenographers for opposing sides, dutifully reporting what each side says but never providing any context for readers or viewers, thus depriving the audience of relevant information. According to this view, news organizations would serve the public better if they provided more openly partisan commentary and critique on news events rather than trying to pretend they are above the fray and simply reporting from a fair and balanced perspective. Finally, some question whether balance, even if it were attainable, is always even a worthy goal. W. Lance Bennett in News: The Politics of Illusion argues that giving various positions equal consideration in a debate can confer on them equal legitimacy when this may not be the case, leaving readers and audiences confused about whose views are more credible. (Who knows? After all, both sides had equal airtime.) Many believe, for example, that challenging knowable and empirical realties on purely political grounds only muddies the waters of what should remain a scientific debate.12 Media scholars on the left claim that the media are not biased to favor liberals but actually skew toward promoting conservative or at least corporate-friendly ideologies. Eric Alterman, author of What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News, argues that the constant refrain from conservative commentators about the media’s liberal bias has made many media outlets present more conservative views than they would have otherwise. When representatives of the political left are enlisted to provide an opposing perspective, they are often much closer to the center than some equally qualified experts who may be more liberal, thus shifting the debate to the political right. Media scholars also cite many examples of pro-business and pro-government bias in news coverage, regardless of the political party in office. Some were highly critical of the complacency of news organizations during George W. Bush’s

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When Media Report Rape Allegations Bill Cosby is a widely known media figure and comedian who in 2014 at age 77 was planning to make a career comeback. Cosby had been a popular entertainer and media celebrity since at least the 1960s with his successful TV series, I, Spy; his children’s animated series, Fat Albert; and in the 1980s, The Cosby Show. Then, just as Netflix was planning a comedy special commemorating his 77th birthday and NBC television network had scheduled a new Cosby pilot project, reports began circulating in the media and social media about allegations that Cosby had sexually assaulted women many years before. Although the cases never went to trial, with a number being settled quietly out of court, rumors remained in the air. Then, in autumn of 2014, a video by emerging comedian Hannibal Burress referring to the rape allegations against Cosby went viral.13 After that, the story snowballed in the mainstream media and beyond, especially once an Associated Press video interview showed Cosby refusing to address the allegations and even asking the reporter not to show any portion of the interview where he had been asked to comment.14 Cosby’s scheduled appearances were canceled on a variety of programs from David Letterman’s Late Show to Queen Latifah’s daytime talk variety series. The cable network TV Land even axed reruns of the esteemed The Cosby Show. Dozens of women have, as of this writing, come forward to renew their allegations of sexual assault. Through his

A firestorm of criticism in the media has engulfed Bill Cosby, allegations that may recast the legacy of one of America’s most venerable comics.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: Conduct a Google search on the topic of sexual assault or rape and Bill Cosby. Watch the Hannibal Burress viral video that catapulted long-heard rumors into the limelight. Do these reports unfairly damage the reputation of a leading black man? Or do they finally give voice to women victimized by a rich and powerful celebrity? Should the media report on allegations that the legal system has not vetted?

lawyer, however, Cosby maintains that the charges are baseless and that the media are irresponsible to repeat such false accusations.

administration as Republican leaders made their case to invade Iraq, which turned out to have neither weapons of mass destruction, as the administration claimed, nor a role in the Al Qaeda attacks on September 11. They also point to coverage of the financial crisis in 2008 that left fundamental issues leading to the crisis largely unquestioned. If media organizations truly had a liberal bias, they say, then there would have been greater critical reporting on such events and more discussion about reforms rather than the considerable parroting of political and corporate elites that took place with few proposals for systemic changes. Media bias occurs not only in news stories, however. Entertainment media play an important role in propagating stereotypes and demonizing certain behaviors. They can also normalize people and activities too. Popular daytime talk shows featuring formerly taboo subjects, ranging from transgender children to domestic violence, can help make discussion of such issues more acceptable, which can in turn lead to these subjects appearing on television shows or dramas, thus becoming even further embedded in our popular culture landscape.

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Similarly, advertising can play a role in propagating certain stereotypes or in promoting cultural norms, which has drawn criticism from some groups. In 2013, a Cheerios ad depicting an interracial couple with their child generated thousands of complaints and negative comments in social media from those who considered the portrayal of a black husband and a white wife offensive. Children, on the other hand, saw nothing wrong with the commercial when asked.15 Understanding how media bias may affect our thinking and commonsense assumptions about the world is an important aspect of media literacy. Next, we will discuss how to develop media-literacy skills that improve our critical thinking. Discussion Questions: For one day, note how many Facebook posts you see expressing conservative political views, how many presenting liberal views, and how many dealing with pop culture or entertainment. How might the results influence your views of the world and news?

Developing Critical Media-Literacy Skills One assumption underlying criticisms of media bias and media effects is that the public is largely passive and accepts unquestioningly the media it consumes. However, audience research has shown that audiences can be quite active in interpreting and using media. Media-literacy skills help us become more engaged and aware media consumers and producers as we learn to think critically about what we receive and transmit. We have looked at basic media-literacy skills in the form of understanding media framing and bias, as well as the role of media grammars. More advanced critical media-literacy skills help us question our fundamental assumptions about media and think about it in alternative ways. Here, we provide a brief guide on how to think critically about media you encounter. These skills can be applied in varying degrees with any media, ranging from advertisements to movies, news, and even video games. 1. What is the purpose of the media content? Is the purpose to persuade,

inform, or entertain? How might the media be working across these functions, perhaps in hidden ways? For example, an advertisement’s main purpose may be to persuade you to buy a product, but it may also entertain and inform while doing so. A news story may be presented as primarily informative, but the nature of the story may also persuade audiences to adopt a new position or confirm their existing assumptions about the world.

2. Consider the source of the media. Is the news story coming from a

media organization known for its political views on either the left or the right? If the source is not a well-known media company but a blogger, examine the types of organizations the blogger links to for a sense of his or her likely political views. Most websites and blogs link to other sites whose views reflect their own.

3. Examine framing of media content. How might the choice of words

affect how media consumers perceive the information? How could

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alternative words possibly change the overall impression of what was written? In news stories, who is interviewed, who is treated as an expert and what organizations do they work for, and how are they framed within the stories? Who is quoted earliest in the story, and who is quoted more often? 4. What stereotypes are presented? It takes practice to question stereo-

types that appear so frequently they seem natural. One way to challenge your thinking about portrayals of other groups in the media is to consider what you would think if you or your group were portrayed that way. Would you agree with that representation or stereotype? Would you be offended?

5. Question the media ecosystem. Identify and question stereotypes as

reflected in the media environment or community of channels both online and off (i.e., the media ecosystem). Think about whom the stereotypes help and whom they harm. Is a group or organization profiting in some way from promoting harmful stereotypes, and does the stereotyped group have the same access to media as the dominant group? If not, why not?


Dos and Don’ts When Evaluating Online Information The Internet is full of hoaxes, cranks, scams, and cons. The upto-the-minute, 24/7 nature of news online and via social media and its low-cost distribution make the Web an ideal place for misinformation to spread quickly because facts cannot always be quickly verified. Adding to the confusion are hacking attacks, such as the 2013 cyberattack on The New York Times’s website that prevented many users from accessing the site.16 The cyberattack was carried out by the Syrian Electronic Army, which also attacked Twitter, disabling the social media outlet and posting false information. How do you know when you are being fed a line when online?

• Check the About Us section of a website to get background information on who runs it. Do the site’s operators identify their mission, their principles, and their sponsors, or do they seem evasive and unclear? • Scan the sites they link to on a Useful Links page. Most websites link to others who share their views or similar beliefs. • Compare the information on the website with similar stories on other websites, both from branded news names and from smaller sites. If a well-known or respected group has made an important and relevant announcement, the organization’s website should post that information as well.

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• Question the name of the organization that owns the website. Lobbying groups and other organizations trying to push a specific agenda will often adopt names that mask their true goals or cast them in a euphemistic light, or they will create front groups to hide behind. SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy, is one good website for learning more about the names behind the organizations that appear in the news. • Do not immediately trust information that lacks a date somewhere on the page. Information that may have been accurate when first posted may well be out of date when you visit the site. • Cautiously consider information you read from discussion groups, chat rooms, blogs, and tweets, even if the person posting claims to be an expert on the subject. Try to confirm the information with another source, and examine the speaker’s academic or professional credentials through a quick Google search. As the famous New Yorker cartoon of a dog sitting at a computer talking to another dog said, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” In the Internet age, that dog could be just about anywhere or anyone in the world.

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What kind of media might the stereotyped group produce if it had equal access to media production and distribution? 6. Make the media. Learning media production skills beyond writing is in-

valuable for media literacy as well as for the job market, especially for communications professions. Reconstructing a commercial, a music video, or even a news program from an alternative perspective is an excellent way to challenge your assumptions about the presentation of media and their messages.

Media Careers Careers in the media are in transition as jobs evolve and new occupations emerge. According to Alissa Quart, senior editor at The Atavist, one of the most important new media career paths is in the area of social justice. These journalists contribute to media literacy by researching and writing on the often complex topics of criminal justice, income inequality, and race, gender, and class. Reporting on these sensitive matters requires both a good sense of societal concerns and strong critical thinking skills. Leading media organizations such as The New York Times have recently hired inequality editors and reporters, and more such positions are in the offing around the nation and the world.

LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD Media literacy is not a goal to reach but an ongoing process; skills can always be improved to become a better mass-media consumer, user, and participant. Media literacy involves thinking critically about the media and questioning how different media organizations may be biased in of their selection of stories, their coverage of stories, and even their choice of whom to quote in interviews or invite to speak in panel discussions. Entertainment media also have biases and can propagate ethnic and gender stereotypes. We may be unaware of the commercial forces that shape the content, largely because we see the end product and not the processes behind the scenes that created the media product. Consider how commercial forces may not always have the best interests of the public at heart, even when media companies claim they are serving the public or simply giving people what they want. Digital and social media present both an opportunity and a threat for the media and communication industries. Longstanding corporations, institutions, and entire industries are being turned upside down by the digital revolution. Businesses built on analog technologies of production and distribution are trying to figure out how to adapt in the digital age. New efficiencies of creating and delivering content in a digital, networked environment are emerging throughout the world. Long-held, highly

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Chapter 2  >>  Media Literacy in the Digital Age

profitable business models based on analog technology are less viable in a digital marketplace. Changes in our media environment also create a greater need for media literacy, especially in the digital realm. The problem of dealing with the enormous amounts of information available to us, information overload, affects everything from government agencies being able to act rapidly on intelligence they have gathered to workers being able to share relevant knowledge within companies. Some say information overload has also affected the quality of students’ work and even their basic understanding of how to research and synthesize information to create new ideas. Some college students submit research papers that are simply cut-and-paste pastiches of material taken from different websites—­ sometimes without even changing original font styles. Even students who realize that this is not actually the correct way to write a paper can have a hard time discerning trustworthy sources of information on the Web. Some people claim that the constant interruptions typically seen in the workplace have hampered productivity and creativity, with tasks taking longer to complete than in the past and workers feeling less able to concentrate for the extended periods required to tackle complex problems. Email is a major culprit in information overload, but the rise of social media has no doubt contributed to today’s frequent interruptions. Nevertheless, the new digital world means new business opportunities. It means opening new markets formerly restricted by political, economic, and geographic boundaries. It means new storytelling formats that bring true interactivity to media. Whether these fresh opportunities will enhance media diversity remains to be seen. The continued concentration of media ownership suggests that the big media companies threatened by the digital shift are starting to regain control of the media environment. The rise of user-generated content and social media directly challenges traditional media companies who commanded the public’s attention throughout most of the twentieth century. The ways the public is creating media, often on nonmarket principles and simply for the joy of sharing and interacting with others, belie the notion that the public is as happy with its mainstream media content as media conglomerates would have us believe. As some people are discovering, profits do not necessarily have to proceed from the sale of packaged media products such as bestselling books. Seth Godin, a noted author on Internet advertising and marketing, makes his books freely available for download on the Internet. What would appear to be the fast track to the poorhouse is Godin’s successful strategy to get his books in the hands of many influential people, including business leaders and conference organizers, who then invite him (and pay him well) to speak at events and conferences. Companies sustain their efforts to keep the public satiated with (and paying for) a never-ending stream of media content that maintains the primarily oneway flow of content from media producer to audience. Scholars such as McChesney doubt the Internet will become a transformational communication technology that can improve democracy and better engage citizens. Whether this occurs or not will depend largely on how media literate the public becomes and how well we develop our moral reasoning and ethical thinking to create the kind of society we want to live in, not just have to live in.

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  information overload The difficulties associated with managing and making sense of the vast amounts of information available to us.

Critics contend that Apple deliberately deleted songs from users’ iPods if they had been downloaded from competitors’ services.

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media matters

Testing Your Media Literacy

You may consider yourself media literate and technologically savvy because you have grown up surrounded by traditional and digital media. But media literacy entails much more than being able to tweet or recalling all the movies in which your favorite actor has appeared. See what you know and what you can find out to determine some of what media literacy involves. 1. Consider a current popular movie that you have seen. Discuss some of its ethnic, religious, gender, or other stereotypes, and consider why they appear. Do they have any consequences for the groups stereotyped? 2. Working in a small group, describe your favorite genre of music (e.g., hip-hop, rock, country) without using the name of the genre, the titles of any songs, or the names of popular artists. Do not hum or imitate the music style. See who can figure out the genre first. Why do you think it was so hard for you to explain without explicitly naming the genre, the songs, or the artists? 3. What visual elements do you normally associate with television news? Compare your list with that of your classmates, and then discuss how and why you think these visual elements came to define the format called “news.”

4. In what ways may an advertiser influence the news, if at all? 5. Do you consider information from a blog or tweet or via a mobile device more or less trustworthy than material found on an organization’s website? Why do you think so? How do you decide what information to trust online? 6. Do a Web search for the top ten movies of the past year, and note what genres they fall into (e.g., action, thriller, romantic comedy). Why do you think some genres seem more popular than others? 7. Would you sign a petition in support of tort reform that limits the amount people can sue companies via frivolous lawsuits? What about a petition against the Corporate Immunity Act, which would prevent litigants from fully recovering the damages inflicted on them by corporate wrongdoing? What is the difference between these two?

FURTHER READING Media Literacy, 6th ed. W. James Potter (2012) Sage Publications. Approaches to Media Literacy: A Handbook, 2nd ed. Art Silverblatt, Jane Ferry, Barbara Finan (2009) M. E. Sharpe. Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom. Renee Hobbs (2011) Corwin Press. The New Media Monopoly. Ben H. Bagdikian (2004) Beacon Press. The Political Economy of Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas. Robert W. McChesney (2008) Monthly Review Press. Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. Robert McChesney (2013) The New Press. The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Robert McChesney (2004) Monthly Review Press.

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Jamming the Media: A Citizen’s Guide to Reclaiming the Tools of Communication. Gareth Branwyn (1997) Chronicle Books. Citizen Muckraking: How to Investigate and Right Wrongs in Your Community. The Center for Public Integrity (2000) Common Courage Media. The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism. Thomas Frank (1997) University of Chicago Press. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. Henry Jenkins (2008) NYU Press. New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Thomas Keenan (2007) Taylor & Francis. The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think. Eli Pariser (2012) Penguin Books. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Yochai Benkler (2007) Yale University Press. Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media. Mark Hansen (2007) Routledge. News: The Politics of Illusion. Lance Bennett (2012) Longman.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 64 Functions of Print Media 65 Distinctive Functions of Books 66 History of Books to Today 71 Current Book-Industry Issues 72 Sales and Readership of Books 74 Outlook for Books 75 Distinctive Functions of Newspapers 76 History of Newspapers to Today 79 Current NewspaperIndustry Issues 81 Sales and Readership of Newspapers 86 Outlook for Newspapers 87 Distinctive Functions of Magazines 89 History of Magazines to Today 90 Current MagazineIndustry Issues 90 Sales and Readership of Magazines 91 Outlook for Magazines

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3 Print Media



Justice Department announcement in April 2012 had several of the biggest book publishers shaking in their boots—and others shaking their heads. A government antitrust suit accused Apple and five major publishers of colluding to set 2010 prices of ebooks so no publisher could undercut Apple. When Amazon’s Kindle was practically the sole ebook reader, ebooks typically cost $9.99, a price that jumped to $14.99 after Apple’s iPad, which could also perform the same function, debuted. The publishers—HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, ­Penguin, and Simon & Schuster—settled with the government, while Apple has continued to fight the suit. In July 2014, however, without admitting wrongdoing, Apple agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit from states and consumers with a payout of up to $400 million dollars, subject to further appeals.1 Amazon controls about 67 percent of the ebook market worldwide.2 An already tense relationship with publishers soured further when Amazon, formerly a retailer of ebooks, entered the publishing business and became a direct competitor. The government suit claims that publishers worked clandestinely with Apple to promote non-Kindle ebooks to break Amazon’s near monopoly on ebooks through its Kindle reader. Ironically, the antitrust suit actually strengthens Amazon’s position, replacing a perceived monopoly with an actual one. A commanding position in ebooks allows Amazon to absorb losses on sales as it attracts more Kindle buyers and locks in the market. Yet supporters of the book-publishing industry, including many bookstore owners, are not persuaded that Amazon’s monopoly is good in the long run, as competition provides incentive for such a company to continue to innovate and to maintain low prices. At the heart of the matter here is a classic confrontation between a traditional business model—in this case, book publishing—and a bold new competitor that wants to encourage reading while adapting to new distribution methods and pricing models.


Describe the general functions of print media, and distinguish between books, newspapers, and magazines.


Trace the historical development of print media.


Explain current business issues affecting the industries for each print medium.


Outline the financial model for each print medium, including sales, circulation, readership, and distribution as well as the transition to digital business models.


Identify forces—including political, cultural, economic, technological—likely to affect the future of the print media.


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part 2  >>  MASS-COMMUNICATION Formats

Print media are arguably facing some of the biggest challenges from digital media, ranging from declines in advertising revenues to changing patterns of reading among the public. Print will continue, however, to play an important role in the media landscape—even when text is read in electronic form. Representing the beginning of mass communication, print media originated in the typographical era of the Middle Ages. Mass forms of mechanical printing and typography contributed to sweeping social transformation in Europe, including mass literacy and the Renaissance. Adapting to such technological change challenged society—a recurring problem encountered by subsequent ages. In 1962, noted communication theorist Marshall McLuhan claimed the following about electronic media in The Gutenberg Galaxy, an observation that applies equally to the digital age: “We are today as far into the electric age as the Elizabethans had advanced into the typographical and mechanical age. And we are experiencing the same confusions and indecisions which they had felt when living simultaneously in two contrasted forms of society and experience.” McLuhan, among others, argues that the medium of the printed word has even changed the way we think. Reading lets us ponder. We can reread and rethink passages of written text, developing responses in ways simply unavailable with the spoken word. If, as scholars claim, the print format promotes critical-thinking skills and refined, logical arguments, it raises questions regarding the effects on our abilities to think logically and critically as we read less and consume more audio or video digital media.

Discussion Questions: Do the Internet and the digital media age constitute a media revolution as far-reaching as that brought on by the printing press? Identify some societal and technological similarities and differences between now and the mid-1400s to support your argument.

Functions of Print Media Print media, in the form of books, newspapers, and magazines, serve many overlapping social functions. Among the most important are cultural transmission from generation to generation, the diffusion of ideas and knowledge, and entertainment.

TRANSMISSION OF CULTURE Media, in all their forms, teach us the language, values, and traditions of a culture. Although not the sole means of transmitting culture, books, newspapers, and magazines convey what society considers right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. Reading often introduces immigrants and children to societal rules and norms. Ancient religious texts such as the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah have successfully imparted cultural mores and values for centuries.

DIFFUSION OF IDEAS AND KNOWLEDGE Education in particular transmits culture, and books are central to lifelong formal and informal education. Textbooks and other works of nonfiction impart everything

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Chapter 3  >>  Print Media: BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAGAZINES


from philosophical theory to psychological self-help, teaching us not only how to do things but also how to understand and appreciate the arts, literature, history, contemporary society, and the social and natural sciences. Newspapers and magazines inform us of and interpret the latest events so that we can make sense of the world. Here we read about recent foreign events as well as new discoveries, fashions, and trends. Special-interest magazines feature particular fields or hobbies, knowledge that helps us connect with others who share our interests.

ENTERTAINMENT Sometimes we read for specific knowledge; sometimes we read for the sheer joy of it. The printed page can offer escape or diversion, allowing us to travel to exotic places or distant planets where we encounter fantastic creatures and memorable people. Popular books often become the basis for films or cable series, such as Game of Thrones. A film version of a favorite novel may disappoint, though, because the locations and characters fail to resemble what we originally imagined. Comic books and picture books, providing young readers with some of their first adventures in reading, are designed to entertain. Short stories, nonfiction magazine articles, and books can both engage and inform, however. As their literacy skills develop, children advance to early reader books such as The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, chapter books such as Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, young-adult (YA) fiction such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and nonfiction such as The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Accessing the thoughts of the ancients through their texts may allow us to find commonalities across centuries. Great literature can elevate our senses and make us feel new emotions as characters come An enduring source of entertainment for young and old alike, some books subsequently become the basis to life. Readers who may not otherwise know or care about our legal for feature films.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: system or our military intelligence can, nevertheless, learn much from Think of movies you may have seen after reading the legal thrillers such as An Innocent Client by Scott Pratt in the Joe ­Dillard book. Were you pleased or disappointed with the film version? Why was this the case? series or military action stories such as Tom Clancy: Support and Defend by Mark Greaney, who is continuing the popular Jack Ryan series started by author Tom Clancy. Still, some recent studies indicate a drop in this activity, with only 67 percent of Americans sixteen and older reporting that they read paper books, down from 72 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, ebook reading is growing rapidly, with almost half of readers under thirty saying they had read an e-book in the previous twelve months.3

Distinctive Functions of Books Even before books existed in the form that we know today, compiling comprehensive knowledge in a single document was considered a vital, even sacred, endeavor. Historically, religious texts have shaped beliefs and worldviews so profoundly that wars continue to erupt over conflicting doctrine. Staged book burnings attest to the social and cultural significance of books throughout history and right up to today. Consider, for example, the violent protests in Afghanistan after members of a Florida church burned copies of the

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Koran, the Muslim holy book, in March 2011. Some groups have burned books they believe corrupt children, including those widely considered classics. Texts have been banned for sexual content or political messages critical of the government. Although more common in the early-to-mid-twentieth century, this still occurs, as when Lebanon banned the controversial 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code. Textbooks, although intended primarily to impart objective knowledge, can express values through omission as much as inclusion. Whether high school science textbooks should discuss both evolution and creationism is still a subject of heated debate in the United States. China and Korea censure Japanese history textbooks that either ignore or euphemize Japan’s World War II Islamic State militants have sought to purge cities they’ve military atrocities. Purported cultural values of books written invaded in Iraq and Syria of books, antiquities, and other to entertain can also stir controversy. The Harry Potter book artifacts that do not conform to their extremist interpretations series by J. K. Rowling has been criticized for not featuring of Islam. stronger female characters in central roles and even for promoting witchcraft. These examples demonstrate the book’s enduring cultural relevance and authority in the digital age. Newspapers and magazines neither present the same sense of established knowledge and compiled wisdom nor allow for the unfolding of long or complex stories. The growing popularity of e-readers attests to the important role that books still play in our lives.

History of Books to Today   codex Manuscript book of individually bound pages.

Since the Sumerians of 3500 bce pressed marks into wet clay tablets, creating what some scholars consider the first book form, authors have been recording textual narratives. By 2500 bce, writers in western Asia were using animal skins as scrolls, a more portable form than clay tablets. The ancient Egyptians wrote the Book of the Dead in 1800 bce on papyrus. Between the first century bce and the sixth century ce, the codex, a manuscript of bound individual pages, began replacing the scroll, establishing the modern book form. Book publishing continued to evolve through innovation and invention: block printing in China by 600 ce; movable copper-alloy type in Korea in 1234 ce; and the Western world’s first mechanical printing press in Germany in 1455 ce.


Korean copper-alloy type was the first printing to use metal plates, hundreds of years before Gutenberg’s European press.

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Until the invention of printing, books had to be laboriously copied by hand. In the Middle Ages, specially trained monks, or scribes, copied religious and classical works in monastic writing rooms called scriptoria. Largely dedicated to promoting the ideas of the Christian Church, many books in this era were written in beautiful calligraphy and were richly illustrated. Early books were published in scroll format and then codexes. Until paper arrived from China via the Middle East in the later

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Middle Ages, European scribes wrote on parchment or vellum made from treated hides of goats, sheep, or calves. Because copying and illustrating by hand were extremely time-consuming, and creating parchment was expensive, books were generally not widespread before the end of the Middle Ages.

JOHANNES GUTENBERG The Christian Church grew in Europe along with the need for religious texts. In 1455 ce, this need inspired Johannes Gutenberg (1400–ca. 1468) to invent printing with lead, using movable type, and pressing oil-based ink on paper with a converted wine press. Born to an upper-class merchant family in Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg met the silversmith Prokop Waldvogel in Avignon in 1444 who taught the craft of “artificial writing,” as early printmaking was called. In 1450, Gutenberg formed a partnership with the wealthy Mainz burgher Johann Fust to complete his own printing invention and to print the famous Gutenberg Bible, or “forty-two-line Bible,” whose 1455 publication is considered the beginning of mechanical printing.4 Despite the advent of new printing technology, the handmade tradition continued. Books were still bound by hand, and illustrators embellished printed pages with drawings and artistic flourishes to match the expectations for handwritten manuscripts. Combining a printing press with existing bookbinding technology enabled mass production at a fraction of the time and cost of an equal number of hand copies. Religious and cultural centers of Europe initially welcomed the printing press with enthusiasm.

  Johannes Gutenberg German printer credited with creating the first mechanical printing press in 1455.

  Gutenberg Bible Bible printed by Johannes Gutenberg in Europe in 1455, considered one of the first mechanically printed works.

The Gutenberg Bible, like most books of the period, had lavish hand-colored illustrations alongside the printed text.

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Noah Webster is most famous for his dictionary, but he also published a grammatical textbook used widely throughout much of the nineteenth century.

  dime novel First paperback form whose cost of ten cents made it accessible even to the poor.

Critical to the growth of Renaissance culture, the printing press spread scientific discoveries and religious beliefs—some of which challenged the authority of the Catholic Church. Many books copied by scribes, especially scientific works, were printed in Latin, effectively reducing readership to elites educated in the classics. Printers rapidly discovered that books and broadsheets printed in local common languages (the vernacular) found an eager audience as more common people learned to read. Books had left the quiet monastic scriptoria and entered the bustling commercial world of printmakers and the average person. Despite this increase in printed materials from the Renaissance onward, literacy was not universal. Most Europeans and Americans remained illiterate until the nineteenth century. In colonial America, education was available largely to the wealthy, who could afford to hire and house private tutors for their children. Textbooks played a crucial role in the increased public education of the early 1800s that helped reduce illiteracy among the general population. One of the first textbooks in America, the New England Primer, published initially circa 1690 by Benjamin Harris, introduced children to the English alphabet, the rudiments of reading, and basic Christian values. In 1783, Noah Webster, known today for Webster’s Dictionary, wrote A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, a response to the popular textbooks imported from England that conveyed English cultural values. Known popularly as the “Blue Back Speller,” Webster’s textbook provided tutorials on language, religion, morals, and domestic economy. McGuffey Readers, first published in 1836, became standard reading books for schoolchildren throughout the nineteenth century. Nineteenth-century textbooks, like modern ones, reflect contemporary social mores. Issues such as slavery and racism were not challenged. Today, textbook content on topics such as evolution and the Civil War is debated. To appeal to the widest cross section of society, textbooks tend to avoid controversial subjects, embracing perspectives and knowledge generally agreed on within the dominant group.

CHEAPER AND SMALLER BOOKS Successful publishing has always been driven by wider distribution and lower production costs. The printing press and digital books—and all the trends in ­between—appeared as a result of these forces. Wider distribution of a popular book, usually one that entertains, is one way to make money; lower prices that make the book affordable for many is another. The dime novel and, later, massmarket paperbacks, satisfied both these criteria.

Dime Novels

Dime novels, relatively affordable paperbacks that first appeared in 1860, made a range of tales accessible to an increasingly literate public.

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Accessible to even the poor, the dime novel sold for ten cents, as its name suggests. In 1860, Irwin P. Beadle & Company introduced this first paperback book, which initially featured stories of Indians and nationalistic pioneer tales. Ann S. Stephens wrote the first dime novel, Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter. Within a year of publication, Malaeska had sold more than three hundred thousand copies. By the 1870s, dime novels included melodramatic fiction, adventures, detective stories, romances, and rags-to-riches tales.

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Mass-Market Paperbacks In 1939, Robert de Graff’s company, Pocket Books, introduced mass-market ­paperbacks in the United States, a line of plastic-laminated books adorned with its familiar kangaroo mascot, Gertrude, priced at twenty-five cents and sized small enough for a back pocket. The paperback revolution stemmed from offering books in places such as drugstores and supermarkets, a mass-distribution ­network alternative to established bookstores. The post-World War II baby boomers, who became the students of the 1950s and 60s, were dubbed “the paperback generation.” They were raised on Dr. Benjamin Spock’s best-selling paperback Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care and influenced by paperbacks such as J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.

Print-on-Demand One interesting development in printing that began in the late 1990s is printon-demand (POD). High-quality color laser printing and binding machines can print a single book in a few minutes at a fraction of the traditional cost with tiny print runs that can make available and affordable books otherwise difficult or impossible to obtain. POD enables writers to publish using low-cost printers and sell their paperbacks online or even in some bookstores. The combination of low-cost, digital, and online technologies has released a flood of POD and ebooks published by authors in recent years. In 2013, over 458,000 books were self-published, a 437-percent increase since 2008, with ebook publishing dropping slightly and print books rising 29 percent over the year before.5 Industry watchers claim that this shows how the self-publishing industry is maturing and how printed books are still very relevant for self-published authors. A growing number of POD publishers, such as Xlibris, Virtual Bookworm, and Lulu Publishing, publish books for as little as $400, not including editing or other potential costs for an author. In 2002, the Internet Archive ( formed a group dedicated to digitizing and archiving all kinds of media. In its first year, the Internet Bookmobile, a Ford minivan with a computer and a POD printer, toured U.S. cities giving people access to more than twenty thousand public domain books in its digital

  mass-market paperback Inexpensive, softcover books small enough for a back pocket and sold in bookstores, supermarkets, drugstores, and other public places.

  print-on-demand (POD) Publication of single books or tiny print runs based on customer demand using largely automated, nontraditional book-printing methods such as the color laser printer.

Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive founder, has built a vast digital library of more than 1 million public domain books, all available for free download to any Internet-connected computer or mobile device.

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archive, all available in minutes and at a fraction of bookstore costs. The Internet Archive hoped it might prove a cost-effective option for libraries tasked with pursuing late books and reshelving them.

Ebooks Ebooks offer various advantages over printed books, permitting us not only to read text but also to make electronic annotations and bookmarks and to search via an interactive table of contents or by keyword. In the late 1990s, major publishers, preparing for a surge in consumer demand, experimented with the online sale and distribution of ebooks. Despite a slowdown in the growth of self-­published ebooks, mainstream publishers are still betting on the growth of the ebook market.


Global Ebook Marketplace While the American public has been hungry for ebooks since 2008, the digital appetite has been smaller internationally, where only some 20 percent of ebook sales occur. In European countries such as Germany, Spain, France, and Sweden, ebooks accounted for just 1 percent of total book sales in 2011. Two years later, according to, the ebook market share in Europe rose to 4.5 percent, with a projection of 21 percent by 2017. In other parts of the world less economically developed and less literate, including much of Latin America, Asia, and Africa, ebook sales have been virtually nonexistent. Yet some organizations, such as O’Reilly Media, report that ebooks are poised to take off globally. In Europe, sales of the Amazon Kindle have been rising as

Digital e-readers enable ebooks and other content to be displayed in a variety of languages and alphabets.

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e-reader prices decline. In the United Kingdom, the 2010 arrival of the Amazon Kindle unleashed pent-up demand. Within nine months, ebooks were outselling hardcover print. In 2011, Amazon introduced the Kindle to Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. Apple reported in 2010 that sales of its Italian iBooks skyrocketed from 150 to 1,000 copies a day within the first four days on sale. By 2013, demand had increased with the simultaneous release of most new ebook titles in multiple languages. In addition, geographical licensing restrictions had relaxed while navigating ebook copyright law—a complex dance among authors, agents, publishers and distributors—had become easier. Ebook cost has dampened international growth, however. Outside the United States, the average price in 2010 of a newly published ebook was $14, plus taxes, compared to an American sticker price of $7.72. And in the potentially huge market in China, with one-sixth of the world’s population, ebooks have been an especially tough sell. Many Chinese read on their phone using “online literature” platforms such as Cloudary where user-generated content dominates. Moreover, digital publishing, like publishing in general, is controlled by the government, which has entered the market cautiously. Nevertheless, as these various and diverse challenges are met, the global demand for ebooks is expected to rise dramatically, particularly in Japan, South Korea, and China, with sales of nearly a billion total ebooks expected by 2016 in those three countries.6

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The 2007 launch of Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader was heralded as the latest technological breakthrough, a potential tipping point toward digital. Older Kindle models with 4 GB of memory can store up to 3,500 titles, according to Amazon; whereas the Kindle Fire, with 8 GB, can store 7,000 titles—along with allowing movie viewing, listening to music, and playing games. Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and other major publishers have embraced ebook readers such as the Kindle, the Sony Reader, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, making many more titles available digitally. Free sample chapters and other marketing techniques have promoted growth, as have improvements in hardware, such as screen clarity and greater storage. Popular tablets, including the iPad and Kindle Fire, have also expanded the market, blurring the distinction between an exclusively ebook reader and a multifunctional entertainment device that includes ebook functions.

Current Book-Industry Issues In 2013, the book-publishing industry’s annual worldwide value was $151 billion, the largest sector among media entertainment and publishing industries.7 U.S. net revenues were $27.01 billion, essentially showing no growth from 2012.8 Despite an enormous global market, tremendous consolidation of worldwide industry ownership has impacted the diversity of book titles and perspectives. At least three significant trends affect book publishing. First, industry mergers and consolidation enable publishers to increase profit margins by reducing operating costs associated with warehousing, marketing, and sales. Increased size also means more leverage with dominant retail giants Barnes & Noble and in negotiations that include obtaining prominent display locations in bookstores and on the Web. Traditional publishing companies, however, increasingly see Amazon as a competitor: partly because of its dominance in the independent publishing and ebook sectors, with 65 percent of the ebook trade, and partly because it insists on setting ebook prices lower than what traditional publishers would like to charge for some titles. Conflicts between publishers and Amazon arose because they could not agree on the percentage of sales that a distributor like Amazon should get; and Amazon’s creation of a subscription model for ebooks, Kindle Unlimited, also challenged traditional methods of book sales (and authors’ royalties, leading to many complaints among authors). Second, the book-publishing industry is intertwined with global media and the entertainment industry. Increasingly, profits for the biggest publishers are derived from technology products and services, such as electronic databases and educational testing. Some books are published and subsequently adapted or licensed for film or TV and other entertainment sectors, such as video games. Third, the emergence of online booksellers, ebooks, and on-demand printing is transforming sales and distribution, growth that renders an uncertain future for traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores and even the power of traditional publishers to set prices.,, and others are capturing a rising percentage of total book sales, even as they dominate ebook sales. Mega-­bookstores such as Borders and warehouse shopping outlets selling discounted books were thought to have the needed economies of scale to compete with online enterprises. Yet in July 2011, Borders, the second biggest bookstore chain in the United States,

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closed all its stores after filing for bankruptcy several months earlier. Independent bookstores are also suffering. Even large ones like Portland-based Powell’s have laid off employees, one of many changes implemented to cope with consumer change. Based on annual revenue in 2013, Thomson Reuters, after acquiring news giant Reuters and selling its textbook division in 2007, is now third to Pearson, after second-ranked Reed Elsevier. This is a clear example of the way mergers and digital media are affecting the publishing industry, for Thomson earns the majority of its revenue from electronic databases and not printed books or journals. Thomson Reuters maintains headquarters in New York, but its parent corporation is actually in Canada. McGraw-Hill Education is the top-ranked U.S. company, ranking tenth in the world in 2013, followed by Scholastic in eleventh place, and Wiley in twelfth. Only seven of the top fifty-six book publishers worldwide have their parent company headquartered in the United States, although several have joint Canadian/U.S. or European/U.S. ownership.9 Overseas companies (Bertelsmann, based in ­Germany, and Pearson, based in England) jointly own familiar publishers such as Random House and Penguin, which merged in 2013.10

Sales and Readership of Books For more than twenty years, the patterns of book sales have been unsteady. The industry has grown slightly overall, but total revenue has varied by a few

  Book Publishing Products and Services Segmentation Figure 3-1

7.5% Children’s and juveniles book

18.2% Professional, technical and scholarly books

28.5% Textbooks

18.6% Adult trade books

27.2% Total $29.0 bn

Other books and services

Source:, 2015

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  Book Publishing Industry Revenue Growth, 2009–2014 (in billions of dollars) Figure 3-2

1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 -2.0 -2.5 -3.0 -3.5 -4.0

$29,980.0 2009

$30,399 2010

$29,183 2011

$29,623.6 2012

$28,673.3 2013



Source:, 2015

percentage points every year, and different categories sell well or poorly depending on the year. Categories are the most important concept in book sales. Each has different markets and different strategies for reaching their audiences, and each is affected differently by economic and other factors. For example, during the most recent ­recession, sales of trade books, or books intended for general readership, fell because people had less disposable income. On the other hand, ­professional, technical, and scholarly books rose as a category, as businesspeople bought books to educate themselves rather than going to more expensive business seminars. Textbooks make up the largest portion of the publishing industry in terms of sales, followed by the category Other Books and Services, which includes religious texts and general reference works (about 10.6  ­percent), and other services, including digital publishing and design services for independent authors (16.6 percent). Figure 3-1 shows the different categories used by the book-publishing industry that make up its $29 billion in net revenues in 2014. As Figure 3-2 shows, a slight downward trend has generally characterized revenue growth in the publishing industry, despite the increase in self-publishing Ebooks have proven especially popular among youth.

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sales (which are not included in these statistics except for any revenues generated by publishers from their various support services to authors). Publishers actively seek potential bestsellers, as a single best-selling title can have dramatic effects on a publisher’s revenues for the year. For example, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy in 2012 contributed to a 75 percent rise in operating revenue for publisher Random House, and a 22.5 percent increase in global revenue.11

Outlook for Books The recession hurt the industry, and the growth of digital media has affected few enterprises as greatly as book publishing. Ebooks, accounting for only about 1 percent of total book sales in 2008 and then 22 percent in 2012, surpassed sales of hardcover books early in 2012—and ebooks had been outselling mass-market paperbacks on Amazon eighteen months before that.12 Ebook sales, $859 million in 2012, are predicted to exceed $9.7 billion by 2016.13 Another area of tremendous growth has been audiobooks, both downloaded and physical. In 2013, for the second year in a Books like Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy not only row, titles published in this format more than doubled from the have proven hugely popular reading among the YA set but previous year, up from 16,309 to 35,713. Industry retail sales have also led to major motion pictures. are estimated at $1.3 billion, with digital downloads accounting for 62 percent of net sales.14 Even as ebook sales increase, publishers seek new ways to generate more revenue more quickly. One growing avenue of revenue is services such as design and technology support to independent authors. What price consumers are willing to pay for ebooks remains a question, with different publishers trying different pricing structures such as offering older titles at deep discounts, around $2.99, and newer titles around $12.99 or more. In March 2011, HarperCollins Publishing announced that library patrons could check out an ebook only twenty-six times before the library must repurchase it. The disagreements between online sellers such as Amazon and the publishing i­ndustry are being closely watched, as the results could have dramatic effects on pricing of ebooks and greatly affect the publishing industry. Reflecting remarkable media convergence are some series of books authored by women around the world that have captured immense YA readership and have been blockbuster movies or major television series. These include Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural Twilight series and Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy. Famed for her Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling has also written an adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, which premiered as a BBC TV miniseries in 2015.15,16

Discussion Questions: Consider the “wish list” of books you would like to read over the summer or during break perhaps—what made you choose those books for your list?

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Distinctive Functions of Newspapers Portable and inexpensive, newspapers consist largely of words, photos, and graphics printed either daily or weekly on lightweight paper stock. Printing and distribution account for roughly 65 percent of production costs; the actual creation of the news, including reporters’ salaries, accounts for only about 35 percent. “News” papers also consist largely of advertising, roughly 60 percent in the typical daily U.S. format. The most important function of modern newspapers is surveillance—­informing the public of important events—yet they also have correlation and entertainment functions. Opening and section front pages are typically all news, the most significant of which is placed “above the fold” on the top half of the page. As newspapers tend to serve communities defined by geographic, political, cultural, or economic borders, sections are generally organized by geography, including local, national, and international news; and topic, including business, culture, health, science, sports, and technology.

LOCAL NEWSPAPERS The vast majority of U.S. newspapers serve local geographic communities (usually city based but with zoned suburb editions), monitoring their government, law enforcement, business, religion, education, arts, and other institutions. Some news, typically the product of larger news services such as the Associated Press and Reuters, is regional, national, or international. Local papers provide a legal record of the community’s public communications, running obituaries and various announcements. Important in the local economic infrastructure, they also carry extensive advertising for community products, services, and businesses.

NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS A few newspapers have emerged as truly national, with readership throughout the country. The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, for example, each offer their own distinctive brand of news. The New York Times, the “paper of record” in the United States, also known as the “Old Gray Lady,” offers especially strong coverage of international events and issues. The Wall Street Journal, bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in 2007, is the nation’s leading newspaper covering business and finance. Many working in these industries also consider the Journal a must-read. In 1982, newspaper mogul Al Neuharth launched USA Today, a strong mix of general-interest news featuring colorful graphics and easy-to-read sections, an overall design inspired by television. Prior to its launch, most newspapers were drab and filled with long columns of text. USA Today took ten years to become profitable; but in the meantime, it transformed the look and feel of most newspapers in the United States and many around the world. Even more significant was its new economic model. Using then-new satellite communication technology, content was sent electronically to printing and distribution centers throughout the country, a cheaper method that permitted nationwide distribution for a daily paper, subsequently adopted by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

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  Top 10 U.S. Newspapers by Circulation, in millions, 2014

Digital subscriptions





















Source:, June 2014 (

Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the world.

Despite the relatively large circulation of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, their circulation numbers are dwarfed by those of the world’s largest dailies in Japan, the Yomiuri Shimbun (over 10 million), the Asahi Shimbun (8 million), and the Nikkei Keizai Shimbun (over 3 million). The coverage of the Nikkei Keizai Shimbun resembles that of the Wall Street Journal. About 75 percent of the top 100 best-selling papers are in Asia, including the largest English-language newspaper, the Times of India (4 million). In the United Kingdom, the three top dailies are all sensationalist tabloids: The Sun (2 million), The Daily Mail (1.8 million), and the Daily Mirror (1 million). Each of these papers has seen steady declines in their circulations since 2008 when they had circulations of 3.2 ­million, 2.3 million, and 1.5 million, respectively. Most newspapers are seeing print circulations diminish as readers go increasingly online.

History of Newspapers to Today News pamphlets or brochures, precursors to newspapers, were printed in G ­ ermany in the 1400s. From the early 1600s, newspapers or news sheets were printed in Germany, Holland, and England. As printers often faced government censors and

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even imprisonment, few publications had regular schedules. The first English-­ language newspaper published in what is today the United States was Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick. Although it was published only once—on September 25, 1690, in Boston—more newspapers followed. The American colonial press took two forms: commercial papers and political papers.

THE COMMERCIAL PRESS AND THE PARTISAN PRESS Merchants published the commercial papers. The Boston Daily Advertiser and the Daily Mercantile Advertiser, for example, reported on ship arrivals, departures, and cargo as well as weather and other items of commercial interest. After independence and prior to the 1830s, most U.S. newspapers were affiliated with a political party or platform. Political parties sponsored The Federal Republican and Daily Gazette, for instance, which featured articles by often anonymous political figures. The partisan press, as it was called, did not subscribe to the modern principle of unbiased and impartial coverage and frequently and liberally borrowed news from other newspapers without attributing sources.

Publick Occurrences, although published only once, is considered the first newspaper in colonial America.

COLONIAL READERSHIP AND FINANCES A subscription to either a commercial or a political paper cost eight to ten dollars per year or about six cents an issue. This was beyond the reach of the average worker, who made just eighty-five cents a day. Readership was largely limited to those who supported the political position of the paper and to society’s well-­ educated, landowning, and affluent groups. By 1750, most colonists who could read had access to a newspaper, although the elite generally remained the literate class.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF NEWSPAPERS In the 1830s, technological developments began to transform newspapers, ushering in a golden age of newspapers in America that lasted until about 1930, when radio began to dominate. Prior to the 1830s, printing presses, powered by hand (and briefly by horses), could print only two hundred to six hundred one-sided sheets per hour, severely limiting circulation. But in the 1830s, the development of steam-powered presses producing up to four thousand sheets per hour on both sides made mass-scale printing possible. Seizing the opportunity, publisher Benjamin Day launched the New York Sun on September 3, 1833. Instead of traditional subscriptions, newsboys in the streets sold the daily newspaper and its sensationalized stories for only one cent. The penny press truly offered news for the masses, reaching a circulation of eight thousand almost immediately and thirty thousand within three years, enormous success that astounded contemporary publishers. As with Gutenberg’s printing press some four centuries earlier, news was no longer only for the political or commercial elite but for everyone. A new marketing function also emerged with the penny press, which attracted large audiences and, consequently, businesses hoping to reach mass markets. The newspaper price did not cover printing and distribution costs, but the penny press began advertising medicines, entertainment, and jobs as well as items on which

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  Benjamin Day Publisher of the New York Sun who originated the penny press in 1833 by offering his paper on the streets for a penny.

  penny press Newspapers that sold for a penny, making them accessible to everyone. Supported by advertising rather than subscriptions, they tried to attract as large an audience as possible.

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the commercial and partisan press frowned, such as theater, lotteries, and abortionists. Advertising became the primary revenue source in the modern business model. Newspapers proliferated in the Golden Age, feeding the appetite for news in large eastern cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Between 1870 and 1900, the U.S. population doubled, the urban population tripled, and the number of daily newspapers quadrupled. The 1880 U.S. Census counted 11,314 newspapers. Metropolitan newspapers sprouted throughout the nation, helmed by innovators whose names still resonate such as James Gordon Bennett, Horace Greeley, Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, and E. W. Scripps. Discussion Questions: Some journalism scholars are calling for newspapers to return to an era of partisan coverage, or to at least abandon the focus on objectivity that newspapers promoted throughout most of the twentieth century. Would you favor this type of coverage? Why or why not?

H istory ( and Pre - H istory ) o f N ewspapers




200 BCE

200 BCE

Tipao gazettes distributed among Chinese officials.

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748 CE

Earliest known Englishlanguage news sheet and first illustration in a news sheet—Trewe Encountre.


First printed newspaper— Beijing, China.



59 BCE

Julius Caesar orders publication of first daily news sheet, Acta Diurna (Daily Events)— Rome.

Zeitung (“newspaper”) published in Germany.


First English-language newspaper—The new tydings out of Italie, published in Amsterdam.

First regularly published newspaper in Europe (Germany)—Avisa Relation oder Zeitung.

First issue of the Oxford Gazette published at Oxford, England, offering first use of double columns in a news publication. Considered the first true newspaper.


First newspaper published in what is now the United States, in Boston—Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick.

First printing press arrives in what later became the 1666 United States— The Oxford Gazette Cambridge, becomes the Massachusetts. London Gazette and is published continuously for more than 300 years.


First daily newspaper—the Daily Courant, published in London.


First independent newspaper in North America, the New England Courant


North America’s first regular newspaper—the Boston News-Letter.

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Current Newspaper-Industry Issues


  Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970

After World War II, the urban society that had supported the penny press shifted to a more suburban population that spent considerable time commuting by automobile and relied more on radio, TV, and eventually the Internet. Tired suburban commuters preferred television for both news and entertainment in the evenings, driving afternoon papers into decline. Eventually, one paper or a morning and evening edition supplanted two or more competing dailies. The Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970 was intended to preserve diverse editorial opinion in communities where only two competing, or independently owned, daily newspapers exist. The two papers are ostensibly competitors but can sometimes be owned by the same company or work under a joint operating ­arrangement, or JOA, provided for by the Act. A JOA is a legal agreement that permits newspapers in the same market to merge their business operations yet maintain separate editorial operations. Today, nine cities in the United States are served by two or more major daily newspapers operating under a JOA, with eleven

Created in 1970 to preserve a diversity of editorial opinion in communities where only two competing, or independently owned, daily newspapers exist.

  joint operating arrangement (JOA) Legal agreement permitting newspapers in the same market or city to merge their business operations for economic reasons while maintaining independent editorial operations.


“Yellow journalism”: competition between papers leads to flashy and often inaccurate stories, like today’s tabloid journalism.



First daily newspaper in the United States—the Pennsylvania Packet.


The Hartford Courant established, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States.


First steam-powered rotary press makes mass distribution possible; prints on both sides of paper, 4,000 sheets per hour. Prior hand presses printed just 200 sheets per hour.



Newspapers switch from hot metal letterpress to offset printing.

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The New York Times acquires, a leading online site of consumer information, for $410 million.


Toronto Globe and Mail offers public access to newspaper text database.



USA Today founded; typeset in regional plants by satellite commands.

U.S. newspapers gain $1 in digital advertising revenue 2013 for each $7 they lose Jeff Bezos, founder of in print revenue. Amazon, buys The Washington Post for $250 million, ending eighty years of family ownership by the Graham family.

Metro, distributed free to commuters in Stockholm, Sweden, launches a worldwide newspaper chain.



The New York Times Company, Tribune Company, Gannett, and Hearst Corporation announce creation of quadrantONE, an online sales organization for national advertisers.

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports there are about 1,350 U.S. Englishlanguage daily newspapers, down from roughly 1,400 in 2007.

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cities served by different newspapers under common ownership. Critics argue, however, that JOAs essentially permit monopolies. Modern newspapers are still changing significantly, particularly with regard to the news and advertising content. Even leading newspapers are more likely to pander to popular taste to maintain circulation numbers. Departing from the editorial tradition (established after the penny press days) of selecting newsworthy topics regardless of general appeal, many newspapers are deferring to marketing polls and focus groups when setting standards for content, tone, and layout. To cut costs, many newspapers have closed international news bureaus and even statehouse news bureaus, relying instead on wire service news. Brightly colored photos and graphics like those pioneered in USA Today can, if properly executed, actually aid and enhance reading. Done poorly, however, they can trivialize the news and even confuse or mislead. Newspapers have been experimenting with the electronic delivery of news to consumers since the late 1970s when newspapers such as the Globe and Mail ­(Toronto) allowed public access to their news databases. Yet most early efforts were not very successful in the days before widely available personal computers or Internet access. Reading text on computer screens was also very tiring. Many newspapers view the Internet as a threat to their business model for subscriptions and advertising. Some have opted to reduce the days per week they print. Others, such as The Christian Science Monitor and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have eliminated paper format altogether. Most adaptations involve some combination of an expanded online presence and greater interactivity, including usergenerated content, which begins to blur the traditional line between reporter and reader.

NEWSPAPER CHAINS Another successful business model has relied on the newspaper chain. Traditionally, U.S. newspapers were owned by families, individuals, or political parties generally residing in the communities their newspapers served. In the twentieth century, both in the United States and globally, ownership became increasingly concentrated; and most newspapers today are part of a group (“chains”) owned by a privately held or publicly traded company. The newspaper business has historically been among the most lucrative enterprises, earning double the profit margins of other industry sectors. Profit margins in the 1990s were often in the range of 20 percent of gross revenues. Newspapers became a desirable target for investors. Large newspaper chains have successfully bought up smaller independent local or regional newspapers that faced shrinking audiences and advertising revenue as well as rising costs for newsprint and other necessary resources. Profit margins have narrowed drastically for newspapers, no longer making them investment targets. Some major papers, such as the tabloid New York Daily News, lose millions of dollars each year as they search for buyers.

Benefits of Chains Chain resources are one of the benefits for smaller, struggling newspapers. This can be especially important in communities where a single advertiser accounts for considerable advertising revenue, a situation that may compromise the rigor of reporting on this company. Chains also offer shared resources for news gathering,

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especially when covering regional, national, or international stories—much as newspapers have benefited from a working relationship with the Associated Press.

Problems with Chains Chains, especially those publicly owned and traded, can pressure local newspapers for higher profits. One common cost-cutting strategy is eliminating reporters and filling the news hole with wire service copy or material from the chain’s other papers. Chain-owned newspapers can weaken the connection between the local media and the local community. As cheaper wire service or chain-produced content squeezes out local reporting, people are forced to look elsewhere for local news. This sets up a spiral of decline—as readership drops, so do advertising profits, forcing more cost cuts either through fewer pages or reduced staff, making the paper even less relevant to readers.

LEADING NEWSPAPER CHAINS From the beginning of the twenty-first century, an accelerated pace of chain mergers and sales transformed the business landscape. In 2006, for example, The ­McClatchy Company, the eighth-largest chain in the United States, paid $4.5 billion to buy Knight Ridder, the second-largest newspaper chain at the time, well known in the industry for its innovative expertise with new technologies. The industry continues to change dramatically with seemingly monthly acquisitions and mergers. In 2015, Apollo Global, a management company, was working toward purchasing Digital First Media, which only a year ago bought up Media News Group; and Gannett was poised to acquire ten of the newspapers currently in the Digital First Media portfolio once the Apollo deal went through. (See Figure 3-4.)

DECLINING NUMBER OF DAILY NEWSPAPERS Since 1940, the total number of daily newspapers has dropped more than 21 percent, with about 1,350 dailies in the United States in 2013. In 2000, the number of morning dailies first exceeded, and has continued to exceed, the number of evening papers. Since 1940, the number of evening papers has decreased 51 percent, whereas the number of morning papers has increased over 100 percent, doubling since 1980 to 862 daily, with 525 afternoon daily papers in 2009. The number of Sunday papers has increased 65 percent since 1940, reaching a high of 917 in 2005 but falling to 900 by 2011.17

Sales and Readership of Newspapers The printing press, newsprint, ink, press operators, delivery trucks and drivers, and maintenance of subscriber databases as well as various other non-news-­ related production and distribution costs make up roughly two-thirds of the overall cost of publishing a newspaper. That activities other than producing news account for most of the cost presents a considerable opportunity for digital newspapers. Still, newspapers are having trouble adapting to the digital era. Readership, circulation, and advertising were continuing to diminish even before digital

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  Major Newspaper Chains in the United States

LEE ENTERPRISES (Davenport, IA) A publicly traded company, Lee Enterprises owns some fifty daily newspapers in twenty-two states predominantly in mid-sized communities of the midwest and west. Based in Davenport, Iowa, Lee also publishes 300 weekly, classified, and specialty publications such as the Southern Business Journal. News properties include the following: Sioux City Journal, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), St. Louis Post Dispatch, Billings Gazette, The Bismarck Tribune, Lincoln Journal Star, Wisconsin State Journal (Madison), and the AlbanyDemocratic Herald (OR). Website:

THE MCCLATCHY COMPANY (Sacramento, CA) A publicly traded company, McClatchy is devoted almost solely to the newspaper publishing industry in the United States. Acquiring Knight Ridder in 2006, it then sold the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Anchorage Daily News, and others, focusing on ownership in areas of fast growth. It owns twenty-nine daily newspapers in twenty-eight markets and a number of non-daily and online ventures. News properties include the following: The Sacramento Bee, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID), The Wichita Eagle, The Kansas City Star, The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), The Charlotte Observer, and The Olympian (Olympia, WA). Website:

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TRIBUNE MEDIA COMPANY (Chicago, IL) In 2014 Tribune Publishing was spun off from the Tribune Company to focus its print and companion digital properties in one company and its television and companion digital operations in another, Tribune Media, which owns forty-two TV stations. A top-five newspaper chain, the Tribune is one of the largest and oldest continuous newspaper organizations in existence, incorporated in 1847 with the founding of the Chicago Tribune. News properties include the following: Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, U-T San Diego, Orlando Sentinel, and Hartford Courant. Website:

BH MEDIA GROUP (Omaha, NE) BH Media is a public Berkshire Hathaway company, the Warren Buffett-controlled conglomerate, ranked fifth largest in the world and first in the United States. Owning more than seventy newspapers and other titles across ten states throughout the south, midwest, and plains states, BH Media aggressively continues the purchase of many small community weekly publications in these areas. News properties include the following: Omaha World-Herald, Richmond TimesDispatch, Tulsa World, Winston-Salem Journal, and The Roanoke Times. Website:

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ADVANCE PUBLICATIONS (Staten Island, NY) Advance Publications is a private, family-controlled company, led by chairman and CEO Samuel I. “Si” Newhouse Jr., whose father founded the business in 1922. Advance owns thirty newspapers in some twenty-five cities from New York to Oregon, along with Condé Nast Publications, which operates twenty different print and digital magazines, including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Golf Digest, and The New Yorker. Advance Digital oversees a dozen local portal Internet news sites driven by its newspaper holdings. News properties include the following: The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), Times (Trenton), The Star-Ledger (Newark), The Times-Picayune (New Orleans), The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times, and The Oregonian (Portland). Website: THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY (New York, NY) Although publicly traded, The New York Times Company has been controlled by the Sulzberger family since the death of Adolph Ochs, Times owner and publisher since 1896, his position being assumed in 1935 by his son-in-law, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. Focusing on its New York brand, in 2013 it sold the New England Media group, including the sale of The Boston Globe to John W. Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox. The New York Times newspaper ranks third in the United States in daily circulation and readership. News properties include the following: International New York Times, The New York Times Syndicate and News Service. Website:

THE HEARST CORPORATION (New York, NY) Derived from the trust of famed publisher William Randolph Hearst, the Hearst Corporation is a private company set to dissolve only after all family members alive in 1951 at Hearst’s death have passed on. The multimedia company features a diverse set of interests that includes ESPN, A&E Networks, and twenty-nine television stations, as well as fifteen daily newspapers, thirty-four weeklies, and hundreds of magazines worldwide, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, and Popular Mechanics. News properties include the following: Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Albany Times Union, and San Antonio Express-News. Website:

NEWS CORPORATION (New York, NY) News Corporation is traded publicly but has a dual share structure permitting control by Rupert Murdoch, who also has substantial newspaper holdings in the United Kingdom and his native Australia. Its flagship U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, is among the top three newspapers in terms of daily circulation. The many services of Dow Jones and of HarperCollins Publishers also form part of News Corps holdings. News properties include the following: New York Post, The Times (UK), The Sun (UK), The Daily Telegraph (Australia), and Barron’s. Website:

DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA (New York, NY) The second-largest newspaper chain in 2012, MediaNews Group was in 2013 subsumed along with Twenty-First Century Media by Digital First Media—managed by Aldon Global Capital, a hedge fund sponsor with holdings in many of the larger newspaper chains. To complicate matters further, in 2015 Digital First was in the process of being sold to Apollo Global Management, which in turn was poised to sell off certain newspapers to Gannett. New properties include the following: San Jose Mercury News, The Denver Post, Pioneer Press (St. Paul), Oakland Tribune, Press-Telegram (Long Beach), and New Haven Register. Website:

GANNETT (McLean, VA) Gannett, a publicly traded corporation, publishes daily newspapers in more than eighty communities across the United States and eighteen in the United Kingdom. By some measures, the most read daily newspaper nationally, USA Today, in combination with the others, makes Gannett the largest newspaper chain in the United States. Gannett also owns or services forty-six television stations in twenty-two states and D.C. News properties include the following: Arizona Republic (Phoenix), Detroit Free Press, The Indianapolis Star, The Courier-Journal (Louisville), The Cincinnati Inquirer, The Tennessean (Nashville), The Des Moines Register, Reno Gazette Journal, and Statesman Journal (Salem, OR). Website:

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media. Shrinking circulation has made newspapers less appealing to advertisers, who have gone online—­although not necessarily to the online newspaper. One notable difference here is that the online newspaper sites compete directly with the leading national broadcast and cable television news. In fact, with growing calls for converged newsrooms and wider broadband access among the general public, newspaper websites increasingly feature audio, video, and multimedia. Online newspaper sites also face direct competition on a number of other online fronts such as blogs, news aggregators such as Google News and Reddit, international news such as Al Jazeera, social media, and citizen journalism. Citizen journalism is often criticized for failing to meet professional A field that has exploded with the growth of digital media, standards. CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: In what instances do citizen journalism broadens the scope of news content, inyou think that this criticism is justified? Identify two or three news creases the diversity of voices in the public sphere, captures stories that might have been told very differently or not at all had citizen journalists not documented events. How can you tell if this type compelling stories as they often unexpectedly unfold in of reporting is legitimate or not? real time, and reveals images that might otherwise have remained hidden. Despite its many benefits, trained journal  citizen journalism ists often view this particular brand of competition with skepticism for its lack of professional standards, most notably on the dimensions of veracity and objectivity. The gathering and sharing of news and information by public citizens, particularly via mobile and social media, sometimes via traditional media.

  readership Number or percentage of newspaper readers.

  circulation Number of newspaper copies sold or distributed.

CIRCULATION AND READERSHIP Newspaper readership (number or percentage who read a newspaper) is larger than circulation (number of copies sold or distributed) because of “pass-along readership,” readers who read the same copy. A growing U.S. population makes it appear that the number of newspaper readers has not decreased greatly. As a percentage, however, diminished readership and time spent reading are evident. Young readers are fewer than those between thirty-five and sixty-five. Yet despite this sharp decline in recent years, statistics indicate that the young are reading news online or on mobile devices in higher numbers than they were, with digital content often published by daily-newspaper parent organizations. Discussion Questions: Consider your campus newspaper. How often do you read it, and do you actively seek it out when it is published? How would you get information on the school and events if you did not have the campus paper?

ADVERTISING Advertising generates close to two-thirds of U.S. newspaper revenue, with the rest from subscriptions. In other countries such as Japan, subscription prices are higher, and the revenue split is closer to 50–50. Since 2006, advertising revenue has fallen 48 percent, 26 percent in 2009, but only 6.3 percent in 2010. Online ad revenues, which grew quickly before 2008 and then declined slightly between 2008 and 2010, still fell far short of making up for the lost print ad revenues. Figure 3-5 shows that while print ad revenues have declined by more than half since 2003, online ad revenues have more than doubled—even though online ad revenues are still less than 18 percent that of print ad revenues.

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Freesheets: Riding the Rails of Newspapers’ Future? It looked like a crazy idea, even back in 1995. At a time when newspapers were already struggling with rising costs and budget crises and just starting to understand the threat of the World Wide Web, Pelle Tornberg launched a free daily newspaper in Stockholm for subway commuters. Designed to be read in fifteen minutes, the Metro was a ­colorful tabloid, with short articles on a variety of topics. Its target audience was an elusive yet lucrative readership for ­advertisers—­the young, affluent, and urban—precisely the demographic that had largely stopped reading newspapers. Now there are 210 free newspapers in fifty countries, with a total worldwide circulation of 40 million. The Metro chain of freesheets has expanded throughout Europe, Latin America, and Asia and into New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. They are now in a hundred cities in twenty countries and publish in eighteen languages.18 Free newspapers remain the fastest-growing segment of newspapers worldwide, although growth has slowed in some key markets. The New York Metro and its competitor, amNewYork, have been struggling to attain the kind of popularity seen in Europe. Even there, however, freesheets have had to close down in some cities. Freesheets have shown themselves to be sustainable and popular, although environmentalists still protest this proliferation of printed paper, their concerns about trees

Figure 3-5

compounded by those about recycling that, they argue, uses harmful chemicals. The worldwide Metro chain claims to be the largest newspaper in the world. As tablet use rises, however, freesheet readers may transfer to paid-circulation newspapers; and the question remains whether reading freesheets will instill a lifetime habit of reading newspapers online or offline. The impact of electronic paper, or paper-thin flexible displays, now seen in Samsung’s flexible OLED phone, may prove even more transformative.

  Print Versus Online Ad Revenue (2003–2012) (in millions of dollars)













































Source: Newspaper Association of America

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As Figure 3-6 shows, advertising in all three main categories for newspapers— retail, national, and classifieds—has been down sharply since 2005. Sites such as Craigslist and eBay and services such as Groupon have siphoned away classifieds ads, down 75 percent since 2005, traditionally a large portion of newspaper advertising revenue. Job recruitment has fallen the greatest: Newspapers received revenues from recruitment classifieds of $8.7 billion in 2000 but only $760 million in 2011.

  Newspaper Print Ad Revenue Declines (in billions of dollars) Figure 3-6




$25 $20 $15 $10 $5 $0 2003










Source: Newspaper Association of America

Publishers generally believe that online advertising could continue to grow but will likely not be enough to support publications as print advertising did. Consequently, they are still exploring revenue options, especially the digital paywall in which readers must pay after receiving a certain number of stories for free. Although this seems to be working for big-name newspapers such as the New York Times, smaller newspapers that compete with hyperlocal citizen journalism sites for local readers’ attention may have less success with this option.

Outlook for Newspapers “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” once quipped Mark Twain, after reading his own obituary in a local newspaper. Can the same be said for newspapers? We consider six major trends in light of this question. First, more newspaper executives are outsiders, with little appreciation or understanding of the industry’s unique aspects. Second, digital subscription models progress slowly. Willingness to pay for digital subscriptions is often promoted through bundling with other incentives, such as receiving a Sunday paper or offering some stories for free. Third, understanding and measuring audiences has become increasingly critical in an online world where social media have made clicks or page views less relevant than they were only a few years ago. Fourth, local coverage is increasingly important (although staff reductions have made it harder to provide), some of which occurs on citizen journalism sites or with bloggers. Still, this coverage is typically not nearly as extensive as that of professional reporters covering local beats. Fifth, smaller but more numerous revenue streams need to be developed as

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Ruben Salazar On August 29, 1970, while riots stemming from a Chicano civil rights march raged in the chaotic streets, tear gas launched by a Los Angeles County Sheriff flooded the Silver Dollar Cafe and sent its occupants rushing out the back door—all except one unable to react, having been killed instantly by the direct impact of the tear-gas projectile. The victim was 42-year-old Ruben Salazar, a name unfamiliar to many Americans but a man who would soon become a martyr to many Chicanos. No charges were filed after a formal inquest, yet lingering questions about the circumstances of his death continue to enhance the Salazar mystique. In a distinguished career cut tragically short, the most prominent Latino journalist of his day interviewed Robert F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Cesar Chavez, among other luminaries. Salazar, whose children were raised to speak only English at his Anglo wife’s request, did not set out to become an activist, much less an icon in the burgeoning Chicano movement. A Man in the Middle, the apt title of a 2014 PBS documentary, Ruben was born to a conservative family of immigrants from Juarez and grew up in El Paso, where he majored in journalism at the University of Texas while working as a reporter and editor for the college newspaper. Still, his early reporting revealed signs of the muckraking for which he would later be known. One of his first articles for the El Paso Herald, for example, described the notorious

local jail, whose deplorable conditions he had experienced firsthand after feigning public drunkenness to get arrested. Subsequently, Salazar worked for the Los Angeles Times as a foreign correspondent in Viet Nam and in the Dominican Republic and as bureau chief in Mexico City. Salazar’s later domestic reporting and columns exposed the many social injustices that Mexican Americans confronted in Los Angeles, such as inferior political representation, education, employment, and housing—a mission he also pursued as news director of KMEX, a Los Angeles Spanish-language TV station.19 A stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 2008 commemorates this activist journalist’s pioneering achievements. Ruben Salazar, in an era that had yet to appreciate or even invoke the value of diversity, embodied it in his relentless and principled pursuit of the complexities of professional and personal truths. An independent observer, a critical thinker, and a man of the people, he offered this metaphor on the dual cultural identity that informed his work: “The international bridge that connected Juarez and El Paso symbolized the division of my life. No matter which way I crossed this bridge, I could not leave either side behind.”20

alternatives to traditional advertising and subscription-based models. Sixth, after the government bailout of the U.S. auto industry, advertising increased across all media channels. Relaxed restrictions on political advertising also greatly helped newspapers and other media. Today’s 24/7 news cycles mean newspapers must constantly update content. Other changes to meet audience needs may include interpreting or analyzing news events and more interactive multimedia; but these efforts could bring them into direct competition with news magazines, both print and digital, and make concepts like a weekly or even a daily newspaper obsolete.

Distinctive Functions of Magazines Three factors clearly distinguish magazines from newspapers. First, magazines typically feature longer treatment of topics. Magazines gained popularity in the 1800s with serial novels, released one chapter at a time over many issues, or

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excellent short stories. Charles Dickens, author of A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, and Oliver Twist, published many of his classics first as serials. Edgar Allan Poe also published most of his stories first in magazines. The circulation of Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine jumped from five thousand to twenty-five thousand the year Poe started writing for it, publishing Murders in the Rue Morgue, considered the first modern detective story, in the April 1841 issue. Many contemporary writers introduce their books with chapters or other excerpts in print or online magazines, or they create books from a series of magazine articles. Samuel Huntington’s influential The Clash of Civilizations began as a 1993 magazine article. Second, magazines are published at regular but less frequent intervals, most typically monthly, although weeklies and quarterlies are also common. Thus, this less time-sensitive writing tends to be more in-depth, analytical, interpretative, and creative. Third, magazines have typically been published on higher-quality paper stock intended to be kept considerably longer than dailies. This paper is usually eight and a half by eleven inches. Certain magazine publishers, however, have reduced their size by a quarter or half inch, saving money on printing costs while maintaining advertising and subscription fees. Other magazines, such as Rolling Stone and ESPN Magazine, print on larger stock that stands out on crowded shelves. A magazine tends to have a defined audience, without which attracting advertisers may pose a problem. (Look and Life, two general-interest magazines of the mid-twentieth century, are notable exceptions.) Magazines serve several important functions for their respective audiences and society, especially surveillance, correlation, entertainment, and marketing. Surveillance, the most basic function, is ordered by subject matter rather than geographic area. (Travel or regional-­ interest magazines are notable exceptions.) Most magazines cover specific topics such as science, health, or sports; some treat highly specialized topics such as doll collecting, harness racing, or scuba diving. Other magazines, such as People and Entertainment Weekly, aim largely or exclusively to entertain. Many magazines have national, regional, or even international readership and distribution. The longer news stories found in major publications, such as The Economist and Time, can provide greater detail than newspaper articles. Higherquality magazine paper can support exceptional photography and illustrations well suited to covering fashion, nature, entertainment, and science. Almost all magazines serve a vital marketing function for a broad cross section of goods and services. Readers often spend more time perusing ads than reading content, especially with fashion magazines such as Vogue, Glamour, and GQ. These feature not only the latest designer news but also the hottest ads. Most magazines have developed tablet editions, sometimes adding audio and video content. Specific audiences are increasingly targeted by iPad magazines, such as Cosmopolitan for Latinas and Uptown, aimed at African Americans.

Discussion Questions: Identify and describe which magazines you typically read, why you read them, and how you read them (print, digital, or some combination of both).

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History of Magazines to Today The early histories of magazines and newspapers are interwoven. Their technological, business (i.e., advertising), and journalistic/entertainment functions overlapped, and both helped spur the development of modern mass media. Not until 1731 did the first English-language periodical use “magazine” in its title: The Gentleman’s Magazine, published in London. Benjamin Franklin published Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1732, a predecessor of the modern magazine. In 1741 in Philadelphia, the first magazine was published in North ­A merica, the American Magazine, or A Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies. In 1811, the first newsweekly magazine, Niles’ Weekly Register, was published. In the nineteenth century, magazines helped a young America define itself and reach a nationwide audience. Newspapers were primarily metropolitan or local, while some magazines spoke to a national audience. Magazines such as Harper’s Weekly also took the lead in developing sports journalism in the 1800s, reporting on, for example, the Schuylkill regatta in September 1876. Frank Leslie founded a variety of periodicals in this era, including one of the first influential newsweeklies, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, launched in 1855. In 1871, he hired Miriam Florence Folline as editor of Frank Leslie’s Lady’s Journal. Frank’s business went bankrupt in 1877; but after he died, in 1880, Miriam, whom he had married in 1874, took it over and skillfully restored its financial health. One of the wealthiest and most powerful women in journalism, she bequeathed some $2 million to the cause of women’s suffrage. In 1888, National Geographic, founded by the National Geographic Society, debuted, and it introduced color plates in 1906. Time Inc., founded by Henry Luce, bought humor and general-interest Life magazine in 1936 and made it into a weekly news magazine with a large format and excellent photography that produced many iconic images of the mid-twentieth century. Weekly publication ceased in 1972 due to dwindling circulation, but different iterations followed: a themed news magazine; a monthly news magazine; a Sunday newspaper supplement; and finally, in 2009, a website featuring many of its famous images. Focusing on its cable and film interests, Time Warner announced in 2013 it would spin off Time Inc. into a separate, publicly owned company. It currently owns several magazines, including Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune. Just as the efforts of nineteenth-century newspaper publishers laid the foundation for posterity, so did the influential work of a number of important magazine journalists from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Among the most important were the muckrakers, dubbed so by a disapproving President Theodore Roosevelt because they pioneered investigative reporting of corrupt practices in government and business. “Muck” was the polite term for the manure, mud, and straw mixture found in stables. Notable muckrakers included Ida ­Minerva Tarbell, Joseph Lincoln Steffens, and Upton Sinclair (author of The Jungle). Lengthy investigations meant muckrakers often reported for magazines rather than newspapers. Muckraking investigative journalism served as a foundation for much of the long-form, investigative reporting seen today in a variety of leading news media, particularly quality public service digital initiatives such as ProPublica.

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In the later nineteenth century, national magazines helped the growing United States establish a common sense of identity and culture.

  muckrakers Journalists, particularly magazine journalists, who conduct investigative reporting on major corporations and government; they were dubbed muckrakers in the early twentieth century for the “muck” they uncovered.

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Current Magazine-Industry Issues In the 1940s and 1950s, television quickly drew national advertisers seeking large audiences. Consequently, general-interest magazines such as Life and Look saw their business base dissolve. Magazine publishers, who had to adapt to survive, stopped publishing ­general-interest magazines in favor of specialized magazines on almost every conceivable topic, a move that attracted advertisers who wished to target specific audiences. Nearly eighteen thousand specialized magazines are now available in print, online, and on mobile devices. Entrepreneur John H. Johnson recognized the unmet media needs of African Americans, founding Ebony magazine in 1945. His hometown high school in ­A rkansas City, Arkansas, was “whites only,” so Johnson’s family moved to ­Chicago, where he got his formal high school education. His mother funded his business by pawning her household furniture and giving her son $500 to start Ebony, which now has a circulation of more than 1.2 million. Johnson became a leading crossmedia owner in the United States, with a book publishing company, a nationally syndicated television program, and two radio stations.21 One of the first African Americans to appear on the Forbes 400 List, Johnson had an estate valued at $500 million on his death. Magazines specialize in several major topic areas. In fact, Bacon’s annual directory of magazines lists 225 market classifications. Ten of the most important, at least in terms of circulation, are news, fashion, women (with at least three major subgroups: middle-aged and older women, women under thirty-five, and teenage girls), families (especially aimed at parents of children under age twelve), sports (with some general interest but many specialized by sport), ethnic, medical/ health, political, farm (Farm Journal alone has a circulation of 815,000), and lifestyles (type of home, region, cooking, etc.).

Sales and Readership of Magazines Contemporary magazines, like all media, are increasingly subject to ownership consolidation and media concentration. The magazine industry did not suffer the same steep drops in circulation and advertising seen with newspapers during the recession. Nevertheless, it did suffer; and the recession claimed some notable victims, such as U.S. News & World Report, which stopped publishing in 2010 and went entirely online except for its college- and hospital-ranking issues. Newsweek also changed dramatically between 2007 and 2010, cutting staff and revising format to accommodate a revenue decline of 38 percent. Eventually, the ­Washington Post Company sold Newsweek to Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast; and on January 4, 2013, it became a digital-only publication. In August 2013, it was sold to IBT Media. Despite established magazines going to online-only editions, hundreds of new magazine titles are published every year. Most do not survive more than two years. The leading circulation magazines reflect general trends. Even the top print magazines, which target specific audiences and cover specialized subjects in depth and with quality, are not immune. Those with the largest circulation appeal to large and growing audience segments, such as aging baby boomers who are more likely to read a print format than younger people. However, young people are also

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  Top Ten U.S. Paid-Circulation Magazines*
























*Data as of June 30, 2014 Source: Alliance for Audited Media, 2014

proving to be avid magazine readers (although often in digital-only form), with­ 90 percent of college students saying they had read a magazine in the last month.22 Table 3-1 compares the top ten paid-circulation magazines in the United States in 1972 and 2014. The positions of both AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin, publications of the American Association of Retired Persons, reflect the fact that America’s population is aging. In 1972, most of the magazines were either women’s or general interest with subscriptions. In 2014, the top two magazines, both sent as AARP membership perks, have circulations far greater than the rest. After years of slow but steady declines, the magazine industry is finally starting to see some growth, thanks to increased advertising and readership in digital editions, a trend the industry predicts will continue. This prediction is supported by specific magazine data in Table 3-2 that shows digital magazine sales, both subscriptions and single copies, are growing and, in many cases, vastly exceed newsstand sales.

Outlook for Magazines The rise in popularity of tablets and other portable devices with relatively large screens and high resolution has helped increase reading activity, including longerform content, compared to the laptop or PC era. Paragraph Shorts, an iPad app

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Table 3-2

part 2  >>  MASS-COMMUNICATION Formats

  Digital Issues a Significant Portion of Magazine Sales

Average digital issue circulation for subscription and single copy sales





























The New Yorker









The Economist

















The Nation









National Review


















The New Republic









Rolling Stone









Vanity Fair

















Bloomberg Business Week


















The Atlantic The Week


New York Magazine

Source: Alliance for Audited Media, AAM Audits and Publisher Statements. “News Use Across Social Media Platforms,” Pew Research Center, Washington, DC (April, 2015) Note: National Review, Bloomberg and New York Magazine 12-month audits come out in June. 2011 data for Bloomberg Business Week, National Review, and New York Magazine are from the 6-month publisher’s statements ending in December 2011. 2012 data for The New Republic are for 3 months ending December 2012; before 2012, The New Republic was not audited by AAM. Newsweek hasn’t been audited since August 2013 and did not report digital replica copies for any of the years before. Forbes does not break out digital issues in AAM’s statements.

launched in 2013, features short stories from publications around the world such as The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and The Guardian; and notables such as Ira Glass of PRI’s (Public Radio International) This American Life narrate audio stories. Although long-form narratives typically seen in magazines such as The New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly must compete with a range of other content, including video or audio content, there appears to be a market for these types of stories, even if in primarily digital form. Full-color pages and high-quality, glossy paper make print magazines both expensive to produce and environmentally unfriendly, even with recycled paper and vegetable inks. Visually enticing and readable magazine pages may also be their saving grace, though, as tablets improve and more magazines go digital. For now, high-quality print is still more readable than text on a similarly sized tablet screen, although the differences are rapidly narrowing, and digital offers multimedia and interactivity. Magazine ads, print or digital, can be works of graphic

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Chapter 3  >>  Print Media: BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAGAZINES


art, and the portability and relatively low cost of a magazine do not make consumers feel like they are making a major investment. Certain magazines can also serve an important social function. Publicly reading the New Yorker imparts a very different impression of the reader than Popular Hot Rodding or Guns & Ammo. In fact, magazines considered prestigious can operate as subtle social markers simply by being displayed on the coffee table in the home or office, even if the magazine is never actually read. It seems the public is willing to pay for an online subscription to a magazine perceived as the voice of authority in a specialized area. Consumer Reports Online, one of the few subscription success stories in the online-magazine world, has over 3 million subscribers who can access archived articles and reviews.23 Enhancing this product is the Consumer Reports Because of their highly visual nature, magazines are well suited Mobile iPad app that allows subscribers to consult an for the tablet format. authoritative source while out shopping. The type of magazine content we see today may not change much, but the way in which we see it will. Despite several pressures, magazines continue to maintain some important advantages over newspapers as relevant print-based products. In the long term, however, print magazines will likely lose their relative importance, whereas better tablet screens, such as Apple’s iPad high-resolution retina display, give magazines a new lease on life and a digital home.

Media Careers The title of book editor seems self-explanatory, but these professionals do much more than just edit (although they do that, too). Book editors are responsible for reading unpublished manuscripts submitted by authors and determining which ones may be most successful on the market. A book editor who successfully finds and shepherds a bestseller or two through the publishing process is well on the way to an impressive career in the book publishing industry. Although one may imagine a successful book editor working in a global publishing house such as HarperCollins and hobnobbing with famous authors, thousands of smaller publishing companies, including academic and textbook publishers, offer rewarding careers (if not quite the same fame and glory). Editors can become knowledgeable about specialized academic areas, working with leading scholars in their fields to help them publish their books. Good writing and editing skills are needed, of course, as well as a keen eye for detail and an understanding of the changing trends in the market. Liberal arts graduates, by training and interest, often make good editors, as they can draw from their knowledge on a range of subject matter while employing their critical thinking and writing skills.

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LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD In a media-saturated world of eye-catching multimedia and flashy graphics, gray, quiet, dull print seems like it will be less appealing to many. Indeed, some studies indicate a worrisome decline in reading among adults, especially young people. If print has improved our ability to think logically and rationally, that raises questions about how today’s digital media may be affecting our thinking, adversely or otherwise. However, even with the proliferation of new media options, reading remains an important activity—some may say it could become even more important, especially if media literacy and critical-thinking skills decline. From an economic perspective, media industries that have relied on printing on paper are facing grave challenges, not because the content has become irrelevant but because the packaging has changed. Just as scrolls eventually gave way to books and the form of writing also evolved, printed books are beginning to yield to digital formats that may produce equally revolutionary transformations. Similarly, newspapers and magazines are facing drastic adjustments. There is nothing sacred or magical about the form of the modern newspaper (although for people who grew up reading newspapers it may seem so); and if papers are to survive, they may need to go digital—as some major newspapers are doing. This change is not simply one of form: it will alter the nature of the newspaper and likely even the nature of news itself because it allows print to converge with audio, video, and multimedia. Whether this reduces the importance of the written word or how it alters it in our minds remains to be seen. Print published on paper will never disappear entirely, of course; sailboats did not disappear with the rise of steamships, nor did horseback riding with the invention of railroads and cars. But the changes that will inevitably occur will transform our society and culture. And the records that will be kept—most likely in written form, albeit stored digitally—will give future historians a rearview mirror that will reveal far more about us than we realize today.


Print Media

1. Do you prefer to read your textbooks in ebook format? Other than cost, do you notice any difference in how you read texts online compared to in print? 2. Where did you buy your latest book or ebook that was not a textbook? 3. What is the oldest book you own? 4. When was the last time you read a printed newspaper? 5. Compare the print version of your favorite newspaper with its digital version. Which format do you prefer, and why? 6. What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing print media in a digital age?

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7. Do you subscribe to any magazines? Which ones? Do you prefer to read them on a tablet? 8. If you subscribe to a magazine, print or digital, describe how you typically read it. For example, do you read some sections first and jump around, or do you read it cover to cover? Do you read it over a month or soon after getting it? Are your reading patterns different in the print edition versus the digital? Why or why not? 9. What do you think the magazines you read regularly say about yourself as a consumer? 10. How do you think the major societal functions of books, magazines, and newspapers may change in the age of digital media?

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Chapter 3  >>  Print Media: BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAGAZINES


FURTHER READING A History of Reading. Alberto Manguel (1997) Penguin. An Introduction to Book History. David Finkelstein, Alastair McCreely (2005) Routledge. The Book: A Global History. Michael Suarez, H. R. Woudhuysen (2014) Oxford University Press. Books: A Living History. Martyn Lyons (2011) J. Paul Getty Museum. Preserving the Press: How Daily Newspapers Mobilized to Keep Their Readers. Leo Bogart (1991) Columbia University Press. -30-: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper. Charles M. Madigan (ed.) (2007) Ivan R. Dee. The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age. Philip Meyer (2004) University of Missouri Press. The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again. Robert McChesney, John Nichols (2010) Nation Books. The Magazine from Cover to Cover. Sammye Johnson, Patricia Prijatel (2006) Oxford University Press. Magazines: A Complete Guide to the Industry. David Sumner, Shirrel Rhoades (2006) Peter Lang. Pulp Culture: The Art of Fiction Magazines. Frank M. Robinson, Lawrence Davidson (2007) Collectors Press. Newspaper Online vs. Print Ad Revenue: The 10% Problem. Scott Karp (2007) Publishing 2.0. The Curse of the Mogul: What’s Wrong with the World’s Leading Media Companies. Jonathan A. Knee, Bruce Greenwald, Ava Seave (2009) Portfolio. Just My Type: A Book About Fonts. Simon Garfield (2011) Gotham Books.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 98 The Recording Industry 98 Distinctive Functions of the Recording Industry 99 History of Recorded Music 102 The Recording Industry Today 105 Recording-Industry Business Model 107 Outlook for the Recording Industry 109 What Is Broadcasting? 110 Radio 110 Distinctive Functions of Radio 110 History of Radio 117 The Radio Industry Today 118 Radio Station Programming 118 Outlook for the Radio Industry

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4 Audio Media



aylor Swift is an award-winning musical artist whose popularity around the United States and the world has made her one of the most successful artists of the twenty-first century and kept her at the top of the Billboard charts. She is also at the center of the continuing revolution in the distribution and sales of recorded music. Swift stunned the music industry on November 3, 2014, when she pulled her entire music catalog from the online streaming music service Spotify.1 Swift has never endorsed free music and explained her logic in frank and plain terms: “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” Some anticipated that Swift’s new album 1989 would see a boost in sales as a result of fans not being able to hear it on Spotify. One anonymous music industry source attributes high sales to other factors, however: “There are reasons why you can sell 1 million units, but it’s got nothing to do with not providing that album to Spotify.” Whatever the causes, predictions for the album’s success, both critical and commercial, proved accurate. Not only did her fifth studio album receive industry acclaim, it topped iTunes sales charts in over 95 countries on its release and went on to sell well over 1 million units, 8.6 million albums worldwide as of February 2015. It became the highest selling release since 2002 and the top-selling album of 2014 in the United States. It also made Swift the first artist in music history to have three albums sell 1 million or more copies in the first week. In 2015, Swift, 25, became the youngest person to make Forbes’s list of the world’s most powerful women, ranked at number 64. In February 2015, she received the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Award, recognizing her as the most popular recording artist worldwide in 2014. Across all music formats including physical sales, downloads, and streaming, she led Billboard charts that featured artists such as Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Eric Church, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and One Direction. Swift has managed to thrive in an industry where sales have long been in decline, and 2014 in general was no exception to the downward trend.2

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Describe the nature and basic functions of the recording arts (i.e., music).


Discuss the history of the recording arts.


Describe how the recording industry works.


Identify the changes digitization, the Internet, and file-sharing services have brought to the recordingindustry business model.


Describe the nature and basic functions of radio.


Discuss the history of radio.


Describe how the radio industry works.


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part 2  >>  Mass-Communication Formats

Dr. Dre topped the list of musical money makers in 2014, with $620 million in earnings, much of it from Apple’s acquisition of his music company, Beats. Second on the list is Beyoncé, who earned $115 million in 2014.

Regardless of form or format, listening to music remains a national pastime, second only to time spent watching television. People get their music via various media—on the radio through online, broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission, or on demand through personal mobile devices such as an MP3 player or smartphone. Music is often playing in the background as people go about their daily activities or engage with other media, such as video games or books. Couples often have “their” song that seems to speak meaningfully to their particular relationship (despite the fact that it was written for mass appeal), and many a teen has played air guitar in front of the mirror while dreaming of rock stardom. Music is an essential element of movies and television, an audio cue to what to expect or feel in particular scenes. The low-pitched, menacing music in Jaws (1975) whenever the shark was going to strike heightened tension as viewers feared for its next victim. The theme became so famous that other movies reprised it as parody, and daily conversation is often similarly peppered with the musical “dun, dun, dun, dun …” to suggest imminent trouble.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is recorded music more important for teenagers than, say, people in their forties? Explain your answer.

The Recording Industry Similar to other media-entertainment enterprises, a few very large firms (often subsidiaries of even larger media corporations) control the music industry. Because record labels do not profit from music that lacks strong mass-market appeal, styles tend to fit well-established genres, even to the point of being formulaic and homogeneous. This situation is improving, however, as online music distribution makes more diverse artists available to fans.

Distinctive Functions of the Recording Industry   entertainment Providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment.

  cultural transmission The process of passing on culturally relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values from person to person or group to group.

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Appealing to just about everyone, young and old alike, recorded music serves a variety of functions, primarily entertainment and cultural transmission. Education is an important form of cultural transmission. Children, especially, listen to recorded music, sometimes the same songs over and over, learning vocabulary, musical rhythms, and the pleasure of dancing. Musical tastes help people define themselves as members of a particular social group. Music can transmit culture both verbally and visually as fans adopt new expressions and emulate new styles that cross ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries. Some argue that such cultural transmission has a potential dark side, however, a debate that intensified after the 1981 launch of MTV, whose twenty-four-hour format required scores of videos to fill airtime. Suddenly, how a band looked became as important as how they sounded. Hair bands became popular in the 1980s, groups such as Mötley Crüe, whose manes, makeup, and tight pants all played well on TV. New music channels found a home on cable in the 1990s, including channels devoted to diverse and specific genres such as heavy metal or country.

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Chapter 4  >> Audio Media: MUSIC RECORDINGS, RADIO


Artists may combine controversial lyrics with provocative video that critics argue send young, impressionable viewers socially unacceptable messages that may desensitize them to violence against women, for example, or promote S­ atanism. Research indicates that between 40 and 75 percent of music videos do contain sexual imagery, although it is generally mild and nongraphic. Sexism remains strong, however. Women are much more likely to be scantily clad, sexually objectified, and dominated by men.3 With the rise of YouTube and other online video services, the debate has intensified, as an even broader array of potentially objectionable content is available on demand. Although MTV, YouTube, or other sources of music video may not always represent the finest work of this commercial, profit-driven enterprise intended to entertain, the recording industry also produces music that rises to the level of true art. Whether the genre is jazz, opera, pop, or hip-hop, countless studio recordings have earned critical praise for their enduring cultural impact.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: In what ways have MTV and the music video, whether online or via television, influenced the recording-arts industry and popular music?

History of Recorded Music The recording arts developed in the 1870s, becoming the first medium of mass communication not based on print. They predated mass-media cinema at the turn of the century; and radio, invented in the 1890s, did not develop as a mass medium until the 1920s. In 1877, Thomas Edison patented his first “talking machine,” the phonograph, using a tinfoil cylinder to record telephone messages. Edison held a monopoly in the recording industry for nine years until telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell and inventor Charles Tainter invented an improved audiorecording device, the graphophone, which used beeswax rather than tinfoil. The Columbia Phonograph Company soon entered the picture with its own technology, selling recordings on wax cylinders that could be played on coin-­ operated machines. The Victor Talking Machine Company also launched the gramophone. Developed by inventor Emile Berliner, it used a flat disc rather than a cylinder to record sound. Few dramatic changes occurred in music-recording technology over the first one hundred years. Even the mid-1950s creation of grooved vinyl long-play (LP) albums at 33 rpm (revolutions per minute), allowing playing times of forty to forty-five minutes rather than the two and a half minutes of the shellac 78 rpm albums, simply improved existing production processes and sound quality rather than revolutionizing them. Electromagnetic tapes such as eight-track tapes, and later cassettes, created in 1965, actually provided poorer sound quality than LPs, but consumers were willing to trade audio quality for portability. Compact discs, developed in 1980, were the first conveyor of digitally recorded songs and the first real technological breakthrough in the recording arts since Edison’s time. Not only can digital technology improve the sound quality of older recordings by removing unwanted noise such as pops and hisses, but it also allows for easy creation of “duets” by live and dead singers, such as the song “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie.

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  phonograph First patented by Thomas Edison in 1877 as a “talking machine,” it used a tinfoil cylinder to record voices from telephone conversations.

  graphophone An improvement on Thomas Edison’s phonograph in recording audio, it used beeswax to record sound rather than tinfoil. Developed by Alexander Graham Bell and inventor Charles Tainter.

  gramophone Developed by inventor Emile Berliner, it used a flat disc rather than a cylinder to record sound.

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part 2  >>  Mass-Communication Formats


It was a technological challenge to record sound on devices that would be easy for the public to use.

The history of recorded music involves both technology and artistry, physical changes in the material recording as well as cultural changes in the genre of music likely to be recorded. In the early days, much of the popular music in America was created in New York’s historic Tin Pan Alley, an area in Manhattan on West Twenty-eighth Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, where music publishers had located close to theaters and vaudeville houses. Before record players became widespread, sheet music of songs heard in these venues was played at home. Existing for seventy years until roughly 1950, when radio and television became more important music promoters, Tin Pan Alley eventually became a generic reference to the music-publishing business that hired composers and lyricists on a permanent basis to write popular songs. From George and Ira Gershwin to Cole Porter, many great composers were associated with the early days of Tin Pan Alley. Perhaps the artist most synonymous with the time is Irving Berlin, who achieved stardom in 1911 when his song ­“Alexander’s Ragtime Band” became an international hit. He went on to pen such classics as “Blue Skies,” “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” As Hollywood developed and motion pictures with sound emerged in the late 1920s and early 1930s, a recording industry also emerged in Los Angeles. The growth of musical recording and radio in the first half of the twentieth century enabled musicians and fans to hear many musical forms. A diverse array of black, Latino, Native American, Asian, and white artists created songs with audience crossover appeal that laid the foundation for much of popular music today, including rap and other formats.

ROOTS OF ROCK AND ROLL The roots of rock and roll lie in a blend of musical forms, including blues vocalizations; gospel musical structures; urban rhythm and blues (R&B) instrumentals; and white western and “hillbilly” strains, or rockabilly. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, a combination of country artists, such as Hank Williams and Tennessee Ernie Ford, and R&B artists, such as T-Bone Walker, Fats Domino, B. B. King, Ruth Brown, and Muddy Waters, helped shape the character of early rock and roll. From 1954 to 1959, rock and roll took off. Bill Haley and His Comets (western swing crossover), Ray Charles (gospel/R&B), Elvis Presley (rockabilly), Chuck Berry (R&B), Buddy Holly (rockabilly), and Ritchie Valens (Chicano rock) led the way. Popular rock vocal groups included the Platters, the Penguins, and Dion and the Belmonts as well as teen idols such as Frankie Avalon and Brenda Lee. Although much of the music owed its original inspiration to black artists, most of the commercially successful rock stars of the day were white. This changed when Detroit’s Berry Gordy Jr. started Motown Record Company in Motor City, Detroit, his hometown and a city with a historically large black population. The dog Nipper “listening to his master’s voice” is a widely recognized Gordy was yet another black musician who had barely symbol of what started as the Victor Talking Machine Company.

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Chapter 4  >> Audio Media: MUSIC RECORDINGS, RADIO

Irving Berlin was a noted composer of many of the twentieth century’s most popular songs.


R&B performers Diana Ross & the Supremes were the most commercially successful Motown act and one of the most popular American vocal groups of all time, boasting twelve number-one pop singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

profited from his successful songwriting. With $700 borrowed from his sister and a makeshift studio in the basement, Gordy signed a kid off the street named Smokey Robinson and his backup singers, the Miracles, and started producing their music. The group quickly released a string of hits, and other successes followed when Gordy signed Diana Ross & the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five (with Michael Jackson), and many more talented black artists. By 1983, Motown was the largest black-owned company in the United States, with annual revenues of $104 million. Some thirty years after founding Motown, Gordy sold it to MCA Records in 1988. In the 1960s, rock evolved to include Motown, as well as soul, “girl groups,” surf rock, and folk. In addition to wielding musical influence, certain popular musicians also had great social and cultural impact, influencing trends and tastes, clothing and hairstyles. Folk artists such as Bob Dylan wrote songs that became anthems for social movements and shaped public opinion about the war in Vietnam, the environment, and civil rights. Reflecting his broad social influence and consummate artistry, in 1997, Dylan was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Who, who announced their 1982 tour would be their last, has continued to sell out arenas all over the world, with their 2014/2015 tour commemorating their 50th anniversary as a band.

REDEFINING ROCK “The British invasion” redefined rock in the mid to late 1960s, with breakout groups such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who heightening its energy and popularity. Experimentation with drugs increased among youth in general

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Rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z became the biggest artist to launch an album with an app, giving him the best opening-week sales of his career. In an unprecedented deal, Samsung purchased 1 million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail for customers to download for free. This digital distribution method generated a new revenue stream along with a new set of problems, including piracy, server overload, and intrusive requests to access information on users’ phones.

  major labels Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group—the three biggest recording-arts companies, which control much of the music industry partly through their powerful distribution channels and ability to market music to mass audiences.

  independent labels Small companies that produce and distribute records. Not part of the three major-label corporations, they include those producing only one or two albums a year as well as larger independents such as Disney.

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and rock musicians in particular. Some new strains emerged in rock, including psychedelic, jazz, and early heavy metal forms. A number of these early bands and artists, some of whom have even hit seventy, are still touring, much to the delight of legions of old and new fans alike, willing to pay top dollar for this opportunity. These living—and still performing—legends include groups who prematurely announced farewell tours decades ago. In the 1970s, music moved from being socially conscious and experimental to highly produced and flamboyant. Glam rock bands flaunted dramatic makeup on stage, and sometimes off, as KISS did for many years. Disco appeared for a brief time in the mid-1970s, when punk also started, the latter being a response to the perceived overcommercialization of popular music. The 1980s saw the rise of heavy metal music, while pop bands such as Culture Club and Wham! sang blithely of love and infatuation. Rap left the urban streets for the mainstream in the late 1980s and early 1990s; while Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains developed a dark sound dubbed alternative or progressive rock. Musical genres continue to transform and splinter as they wax and wane in popularity. Even older genres, such as swing, sometimes enjoy a short resurgence. Mainstream country music has come to sound more like country rock, for example, and some songs appear as crossover hits on both pop and country charts.

The Recording Industry Today

On the corporate side of recording, a handful of companies controlled the industry by 1909. Geoffrey P. Hull notes that although these companies experienced major changes, a three-way corporate oligarchy dominated the music industry until the 1950s, when a variety of notable industrywide changes set in. These included greater competition due to the growth of rock and roll and diverse new recording labels such as Motown. Like other media companies, record labels have been consolidating. In 1998, there were six major labels, and in 2004 only five, including Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and EMI. In 2008, Sony Music absorbed BMG; and in 2012, Universal Music Group acquired EMI. Now once again, three companies have oligarchical control, each a subsidiary of a larger media empire: Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group (UMG; see Table 4-1). UMG alone controls more than 25 percent of the worldwide market for recorded music. Independent labels—ranging from small local companies producing and distributing the music of only one or two artists to large labels such as Disney—have the majority of music titles, estimated at about 66 percent by SoundScan and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), yet only about 20 percent of the sales. Similar to book publishing, the vast majority of releases sell less than 5,000 copies per year, with only a handful of recordings, numbering in the hundreds, selling more than 250,000 a year. Yet these few, largely releases by major labels, account for over half the total sales volume. How do they manage to produce so many of the big hits? Some say they reap the rewards of producing and marketing

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Chapter 4  >> Audio Media: MUSIC RECORDINGS, RADIO


  The Major Record Labels and Their Main Subsidiary Labels

table 4-1

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part 2  >>  Mass-Communication Formats


Amanda Palmer When alternative rocker Amanda Palmer took a hiatus from the punk-cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls and decided to make her first solo album her way, she turned her back on her record label and turned instead, with open heart and empty hands, to her fans. The request? A relatively modest $100,000 to be raised on Kickstarter, one of several digital crowdfunding platforms employed by a growing number of artists. The response? An overwhelming $1.2 million—contributions from nearly 25,000 of the faithful, generated in a matter of weeks in 2012. Depending on the amount of their pledge, fans would receive recordings in various formats or related artwork perhaps. And the most financially committed, many of whom met through Twitter or Facebook to pool together the requisite $5,000, could enjoy a private concert and house party with Amanda herself.6 Despite her newfound status as a Kickstarter sensation, a subsequent request directed at a different audience failed miserably. She quickly fell from Internet grace after attempting to recruit local musicians via her blog to play with her and her touring band The Grand Theft Orchestra for beer, hugs, and high fives. More controversy ensued the following year about a poem she wrote for alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, deemed the worst poem ever composed in the English language by Reactions to Palmer tend toward the extreme: a vibrant visionary to fans, an entitled egotist to critics. Regardless, her provocative and unapologetic resume in the art of asking, the title of a recent TED talk that she elaborated into a book, remains pioneering and eclectic. After graduating from ­Wesleyan College, she spent five years as a busker in Boston’s Harvard Square, a living statue called the ­Eight-Foot Bride. Appreciative passersby would drop money in her hat, an activity that Palmer likens to fan funding of digitally recorded music through services like Kickstarter. In both cases, audiences need to step forward and provide direct support for artists they value. Not surprisingly, given her philosophy and business model, Palmer is vocal about the “magic” of Twitter, which, as she observed in her TED talk, allowed her to “ask

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instantly for anything anywhere”—a couch to sleep on, a piano to practice on, a home-cooked meal to savor backstage. And she waxed similarly effusive about the Internet in general as a means of connecting intimately and sharing freely: “Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance, but the Internet and the content that we're freely able to share on it are taking us back. It’s about a few people loving you up close and about those people being enough.”8

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the best music from the best artists. Others say even marginal music from the major labels will dominate sales because of superior marketing. Nevertheless, revenues have declined steeply since 2001, the beginning of the digital piracy era. In 2000, worldwide recorded music revenues were $36.9 billion. By 2013, global music sales were $15 billion (including synch revenues, payment for use of a song in another soundtrack, such as a commercial or TV show), down more than 55 percent, according to the IFPI, a London-based organization that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. The industry has struggled to stem the flood of free versions or mash-ups of songs found on filesharing services, and the RIAA and IFPI claim that file-sharing services encouraging illegal downloads are to blame for the decline in sales. Other observers say the picture is more complex than that. First, just under half (49 percent) of music sales globally in 2013 were still CDs, $7.3 billion of the total $15 billion, with worldwide revenues dropping 4 percent from 2012. CD sales declined 12 percent, or $1.9 billion, between 2010 and 2011 and hit a new low in 2014, down 20 percent from 2013.4 Yet consumers are increasingly willing to buy songs online via iTunes and other services, and digital sales (online subscriptions and downloads) increased 8 percent, to a total of $7.7 billion in 2013, according to IFPI. Digital sales worldwide were almost half the total music sales; and in the United States, 51 percent of music sales were digital in 2013, up about half since 2009. Moreover, the purchase of entire digital albums, not just individual songs, was up more than 20 percent in the United States since 2010.5 More encouraging news for the music industry is the fact that global revenues from streaming and subscription services increased 51 percent in 2013, topping $1 billion for the first time. As CD sales drop, major retail chains such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart, where 65 percent of all CD sales occur, give them less floor display space. The waters are further muddied by exclusive distribution deals with major chains like Wal-Mart. In 2008, AC/DC’s Black Ice, sold exclusively at Wal-Mart, was the fifth-highest-selling album of the year. Although sales of independent releases have also grown dramatically with the Internet and digital distribution, they continue to be low relative to most major labels, whose marketing resources and business model give them the competitive edge. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How many songs in your music library have you downloaded for free? How much would you have spent if you’d purchased each song for ninety-nine cents? How many downloaded songs from new artists persuaded you to purchase that artist’s CD or to buy digital song or album downloads?

Recording-Industry Business Model Throughout much of the twentieth century, the basic business model in the recorded-music industry involved creation, promotion, and distribution. These three main activities have not changed fundamentally, although some of their components have been altered in the digital age.

CREATION Acting as gatekeepers, the major record labels sign talent and subsequently support these artists in the creation and recording of music. Because of their financial

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investment in the process, they have historically reaped the greatest financial rewards, with most artists receiving royalties of only around 10 percent of gross, or overall, sales. Being signed to a major label does not mean that a struggling band has finally made it: Most releases sell fewer than 5,000 copies annually; only a handful sell more than 250,000. Of these sales numbers, 10 percent, about $2 per album sold, is not much income for a band.9 For every Adele selling millions of albums, there are thousands of artists who sell only a few thousand indie or major-label albums and who never get airplay.10


  payola Cash or gifts given to radio disc jockeys by record labels in exchange for greater airplay of the label’s artists or most recent songs. After several scandals in the 1950s, the practice is now illegal.

Promoting artists and their music is crucial to commercial success. Artists perform in concerts, for which additional royalties are received; but music gains exposure largely through radio, television, film, and, increasingly, video games, commercials, and mobile phone ringtones. In the past three decades, music videos have also been important. Major labels get considerably more airtime than indies on radio, a primary promotional vehicle. Record labels traditionally provide radio and television programmers with free copies of recorded music and music videos in exchange for getting them played on their stations and channels. Unscrupulous programmers or disc jockeys in major markets have sometimes received cash, gifts, or other secret payments—payola—in return for increased airplay. Payola was very big in the 1950s until the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled it unfairly stifled competition from smaller labels with fewer financial resources. Payola, or “pay for play,” reduces diversity on the air and is punishable today with fines or even imprisonment. Record labels have circumvented such restrictions, enforced by the Federal Communications Commission, by having artists give radio interviews in exchange for promotion, holding special events in certain markets, and giving away tickets or backstage passes in conjunction with the radio station.


  long tail The principle that selling a few of many types of items can be as or more profitable than selling many copies of a few items, a practice that works especially well for online sellers such as Amazon and Netflix.

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Although recording formats have varied, the method of distribution has remained essentially unchanged. Record labels make copies from a master version and send the albums, tapes, or CDs to local retail outlets for sale to consumers. Online stores such as Amazon act much like their physical counterparts. Unfettered, however, by concerns about store display space, they can stock more CDs than retail stores, including CDs that are less popular. Long tail marketing and distribution allow businesses to succeed by selling a greater variety of items but fewer of each. Another aspect of digital media and the Internet has been changing distribution much more radically. Consumers no longer have to buy a physical product. They simply download songs either through a subscription service or à la carte. Not only can the general public easily copy and distribute music, they can also create flawless copies with no loss in sound quality. Using widely available s­ oftware, they can personalize content with mash-ups of multiple songs. These developments are affecting industry business models for music distribution profoundly.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Think of two songs that you particularly like from two different genres. Now imagine making a mash-up creatively combining elements of the two songs. What commercial potential might your new mash-up have, if any?

PRICING STRUCTURE The pricing structure for recorded music is, of course, key in determining income for the label, the artist, and others in the distribution chain. In the 1970s, when vinyl LPs were the standard, list price (the consumer price) was about $6 (about $26 in 2012 dollars). In the 1980s, the compact disc was introduced, and CDs as a percentage of album sales gradually increased from just 22 percent in 1988 to 91 percent in 2001. List prices for CDs were about $19 in the early 1980s (about $39 in 2012 dollars), with wholesale prices about $12. Online album prices are somewhat lower, with typical prices for albums sold on iTunes at about $10 and even less on Over time, as production volume increased, production cost decreased; consequently, wholesale prices fell to about $10, with list prices at about $15 or often less with promotional discounts. Today, manufacturing costs for record labels are about $1 per CD, with artist and producer royalties about $2 per album (roughly 10–20 percent of the list price) and distributor charges about $1.50. Marketing costs (roughly 50¢) tend to be quite low because radio stations and music television provide most of the promotion for free. Thus, a label typically has a gross profit of $5 per CD sold. This admittedly simplified model still serves to illustrate how immensely the industry profits.

Music lovers around the world are using software like MiniMash to mix their own tunes from two or more songs by other artists.

Outlook for the Recording Industry In 2015, Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard announced that music sales had decreased more than 10 percent between 2013 and 2014, continuing a steady decline since the early 2000s.11 Instead, most artists generate the largest share of their revenues from touring and online streaming services. Once thought obsolete, vinyl sales also saw a slight uptick in 2014, but they make up only 3.5 percent of total recorded music sales. Revenue growth from streaming services is sustainable, some good news that suggests digital media, the bane of the music industry, may also be a boon.

DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT AND ILLEGAL FILE SHARING Critics argue that the music industry and major record labels have only themselves to blame for the general decline in music sales. Rather than embracing early on the potential of digital technologies and the Internet for generating new kinds of revenue streams, they resisted change in a number of ways that proved futile. Security of copyrighted material remains a prime concern for record labels. Their past initiatives in digital rights management (DRM), such as limiting digital copies of purchased music, have been viewed as heavy handed. Most DRM efforts with physical media like CDs have also proved unsuccessful because security codes have been quickly hacked. By 2009, none of the major record labels used DRM on their CDs, claiming the associated costs exceeded the gains.

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  digital rights management (DRM) Technologies that let copyright owners control the level of access or use allowed for a copyrighted work, such as limiting the number of times a song can be copied.

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DRM is far more common with online music, although not all online sellers use it. For downloaded music, DRM restricts either the types of devices that can play the downloaded song or the length of time the song can be played, or it limits access in some other way, such as requiring an ongoing subscription, as with Rdio. Generally, music services offering DRM versions of songs online have lower price points than non-DRM songs, which do not restrict formats or copying files between devices. Since 2001, the recording industry has sued various file-sharing services and Internet service providers (ISPs), successfully shutting down and eventually bankrupting music file-sharing pioneer Napster. The RIAA even sued several thousand individuals for sharing files. Bad publicity ultimately made this practice untenable, though, and at the end of 2008, it opted to pressure the ISPs to cut those users off from the Internet rather than sue them individually. Many ISPs have blocked access to file-sharing services because of the threat of lawsuits and the heavy load such sharing imposes, slowing down the networks even for users not sharing files. Universities, with their fast Internet connections and music-loving young masses, have been prime targets of the RIAA, which has pushed for special ethics education for new students to discourage the illegal file sharing of copyrighted works. The recording industry has also been more aggressive in pursuing file-sharing services themselves. In late 2010, a four-year RIAA court case concluded with a federal judge shutting down popular file-sharing service LimeWire, with 50 million users monthly, after which BearShare, another file-sharing service, saw a sharp rise in users. As soon as one service closes, people apparently just seek out other existing or new services. Some proposed legislation, such as requiring digital security devices, supports industry efforts. Manufacturers, however, are resisting such directives, as are groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an adThe EFF is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on issues of vocate for citizen or consumer rights. privacy and developments in communications technologies.


Giving consumers more choice in how they get their music has been a difficult adjustment for the major record labels.

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The music industry needs to develop new ways to sell music that match consumer interests and patterns of media use. To that end, two main business models seem to be emerging: downloads and s­ ubscription services. Downloading music is hardly a recent activity. Not until the advent of Apple’s iTunes in 2003, however, did the music industry finally succeed in getting consumers to pay for their downloads. Many in the recording industry, artists included, worried that à la carte song downloads would mean the death of the album, concerns that have proven to be largely valid. In the United States in 2013, there were 1.26 billion sales of individual songs online, seven times the volume of online album sales, which totaled just 118 million, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. Added content such as behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive interviews, and games makes downloading an entire album appealing, but not sufficiently so for many consumers to justify the higher price of entire collections of

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songs. Although small compared to song and album downloads, downloaded ringtones demonstrate how songs may be popular in a variety of formats, including those that normally would never have been considered mass media. Subscription services, having grown remarkably in recent years, offer great potential for new types of revenue streams. Many subscriptions operate on a freemium model: some content is free, but a monthly subscription is required to take advantage of all the site has to offer. Different versions of the freemium model are currently being tested, such as advertising-supported content for the free service but no ads for the premium service. Other ways to distinguish the paid tier from the free tier include access to special content or songs that can be downloaded to other devices. In North America, recent growth has made Slacker Radio and Pandora two of the biggest music-streaming and subscription services. Pandora has more than 75  million registered users, up from 25 million in 2008, and claims 500,000 paying subscribers. Sweden-based Spotify, launched in 2008 and the second most popular digital music service in Europe after iTunes, was available in the United States in July 2011, expanding the field of music-subscription competitors. Its revenues topped $1 billion in 2013. Also in 2013, Apple entered the field with its own streaming music service. As the names and functions of these services suggest, the lines have blurred between Internet radio and online music subscription services, making it hard to identify exactly where radio ends and downloading or streaming songs begins. The recording industry is looking at working directly with ISPs, some of which offer their own branded music-subscription services to customers. They are also considering partnerships with mobile operators that will facilitate getting songs and music content from mobile devices.


  freemium Subscriptions that provide some content for free but require a monthly subscription to take advantage of all the site has to offer.

Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” was the number one streamed song worldwide in 2014.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice would you offer a record-label executive for creating a successful business model in the digital age?

What Is Broadcasting? The term “broadcasting” originally referred to the practice of planting seeds by casting them broadly in a field rather than depositing them one at a time. In the early days of broadcasting as we have come to know it, wireless communications, initially only radio, provided point-to-point communication where telegraph lines were impractical or unreliable. Its main purpose was ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore communications for quick emergency transmissions. Subsequently, radio technology was developed to broadcast wireless messages widely to multiple locations. Dozens of years later, television allowed for the broadcasting of moving pictures as well as audio via wireless technology. Broadcast technology works essentially the same way in both radio and television. A transmitter sends messages over a part of the electromagnetic spectrum to a receiver or antenna that translates the message to the radio or TV. The receiving device then decodes the audio or visual electromagnetic waves so that they can be heard or seen.

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Streaming music service Spotify in 2014 had 50 million subscribers worldwide who streamed more than 8 billion hours of music.

  broadcast Originally a reference to casting seeds widely in a field that was subsequently applied to the fledgling electronic medium of radio and later television.

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Early radios were often built to fit in with other living room furniture.

  amplitude modulation (AM) Radio carrier signal modified by variations in wave amplitude.

  frequency modulation (FM) Radio carrier signal modified by variations in wave length/ frequency.

Radio, the most widely available medium of mass communication around the world, is also the most heavily used medium in the United States: People listen to radio on average over 2.5 hours per day, although different types of research present disparate findings. For example, compared to observational studies, self-reports of radio usage tend to underreport radio listening greatly, likely because radio is often playing in the background while people do other things, even while they consume other media such as reading a book or going online. At least 99 percent of all U.S. households have at least one radio receiver, similar to most industrialized countries. Even developing nations have relatively high radio penetration. Radio is less expensive to produce, transmit, and receive than television; radio receivers are highly portable—even wearable—and radio doesn’t require literacy to understand. There are basically three types of radio broadcasting: amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), and satellite. Yet satellite radio, like so-called Internet radio, employs an entirely different method of delivering audio programming than traditional AM and FM radio. Both are “broadcast” in the sense that they reach mass audiences, but satellite’s delivery makes it more akin to airplane audio programming than true broadcasting. Low-powered radio, often in the FM format, also varies from the general terrestrial broadcast formats. Less expensive to transmit, it has enabled many highly localized community radio stations to operate around the United States and internationally.

Distinctive Functions of Radio Around the world, radio is a medium of news and entertainment. The low cost of both radio receivers and broadcasting has made it a particularly important and ubiquitous medium of mass communication in the developing world. Even in remote rural areas, it disseminates important information, such as agricultural instructions for easy, cheap, and rapid farming. Radio is also used globally as an emergency broadcast system for events such as severe storms, natural disasters, and military conflict, largely because of its portability and flexible power source. Radio receivers can operate easily for long periods on battery power alone. In industrialized societies, radio has a broad array of functions, perhaps more diverse than any other of the traditional analog media. Talk radio provides information, debate, and even limited audience interactivity with listeners who call in. News programming offers breaking news as well as traffic and weather reports, school closings, and more. The broadcasting of recorded music for entertainment, the mainstay of commercial radio, benefits the public, artists, and the recording industry.

History of Radio Radio boasts a remarkable history. Technically, economically, and programmatically, it has changed considerably since its early development, and it continues to

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Mashed-Up and Mixed-Up Musical Ethics The aptly named “Blurred Lines” illustrates the challenges of ethics in media in the digital age. In 1977, legendary artist Marvin Gaye produced a sensational hit called “Got to Give It Up,” a song that has remained familiar and popular over the years. Four decades later, recording artist Robin Thicke produced the contemporary hit “Blurred Lines,” which critics contend is little more than a digital rip-off of Gaye’s masterpiece.12 Thicke’s song entered the musical charts in the summer of 2013 and quickly rose to the top of national and global markets, where it stayed for six weeks, selling more than six million copies and helping catapult Thicke to international fame. Marvin Gaye died in 1984, tragically shot by his father in an apparent argument. His family now claims that Thicke essentially took the melody from Gaye’s original hit and remixed it into the melody of “Blurred Lines.”13 Thicke has since admitted that he was high on drugs and alcohol when the new song was coproduced with international musical sensation Pharrell Williams and “T.I.” Clifford Harris Jr. Thicke claims he cannot remember cowriting the hit and does not believe he would even have been capable of contributing to its creation. He also admits lying to the media at the time of the song’s release about his part in writing the song. Thicke and his musical partners also filed suit, defending their claim to having created “Blurred Lines” without stealing from Gaye’s previous hit. They acknowledge a resemblance between the tunes, but claim the contemporary hit is tribute to Gaye, not theft. In March 2015, a jury disagreed, awarding the Marvin Gaye estate $7.3 million of the $25 million they sought in damages. See if you agree with this view that the 2013 hit is a largely derivative mash-up of Gaye’s classic song. Log onto YouTube, Vimeo, or another online music service and search

for both songs. Listen to “Blurred Lines” and “Got to Give It Up” and compare the melodies and the beat of each song. What is your conclusion? Does Thicke owe more than an apology to the Gaye family?

evolve in the digital age. The following discussion reviews the development of radio from its early days in the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century.

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  Heinrich Hertz


Many inventors and scientists around the world were experimenting with radio technology around the same time. In 1884, German Heinrich Hertz began working with electromagnetic waves, and in 1885, he demonstrated the existence of radio waves. The measurement unit of electromagnetic frequencies was named for Hertz, whose work set the stage for the development of modern wireless communications, both fixed and mobile, a portion of which Americans have come to know as radio. Another scientist experimenting with radio technology was African American Granville T. Woods, who in 1887 invented railway telegraphy that allowed ­messages to be sent between moving trains and a railroad station. This invention decreased railway collisions and alerted engineers to obstructions ahead on tracks.14 In 1899, Italian Guglielmo Marconi invented radio telegraphy. What he dubbed “the wireless,” as it came to be called in much of the Englishspeaking world, made real-time audio transmission possible. Although transmitted in the form of Morse code dots and dashes without a wired connection, it might be deemed the first real radio transmission. Kentucky farmer Nathan B. Stubblefield, called by some the real inventor of radio, created and demonstrated in 1892 a wireless communications device that could even transmit voice and music over a short distance, about five hundred feet. Stubblefield made his invention available to the Wireless Telephone Company, which proved to be a fraud. Because he never patented his device, he failed to reap the commercial rewards, dying tragically of starGuglielmo Marconi invented radio telegraphy, or the wireless telegraph, in 1899. vation in 1928, alone and penniless on the dirt floor of a shack.15 Demonstrated the existence of radio waves in 1885, setting the stage for the development of modern wireless communications. The measurement unit of electromagnetic frequencies was named for Hertz.

  Granville T. Woods Inventor of railway telegraphy in 1887, a type of wireless communication that allowed moving trains to communicate with each other and with stations, greatly reducing the number of railway collisions.

EXPLORING RADIO’S EARLY POTENTIAL The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), recognizing radio’s potential, financed Canadian Reginald A. Fessenden’s early research for gathering reports and distributing them broadly. In 1901, Fessenden obtained a U.S. patent for his new radio transmitter with a high-speed electrical alternator that produced “continuous waves.” His design is the basis for today’s AM radio. In 1912, the USDA started transmitting weather reports by radio in telegraphic code.

  Guglielmo Marconi Italian inventor and creator of radio telegraphy, or wireless transmission, in 1899.

  Lee de Forest Considered the father of radio broadcasting because of his invention that permitted reliable voice transmissions for both pointto-point communication and broadcasting.

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VOICE TRANSMISSION In 1906, Swedish-born inventor Ernst Alexanderson was among the first to build a high-frequency, continuous-wave machine capable of broadcasting the human voice and other sounds. An early radio station broadcast featuring a person’s voice and a violin solo used his invention. Although Italian Marconi and Canadian Fessenden did much of the early inventing work, American Lee de Forest developed a unique voice transmitter that proved reliable for both point-to-point radio communication and broadcasting; and by 1907, de Forest’s company was supplying the U.S. Navy’s Great White Fleet with arc radiotelephones for its pioneering around-the-world voyage. This feat helped establish de Forest as the father of radio, although, in reality, radio had at least three men who could claim that title.

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RADIO BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER WWI Despite its evident practical uses, radio required improved technology to become a mass medium. With considerable financial support and direction from the U.S. military, research on the vacuum tube helped produce a reliable radio transmitter and receiver by about 1915. Using the perfected vacuum tube radio transmitter, de Forest’s “Highbridge Station” 2XG introduced nightly broadcasts, a so-called wireless newspaper for amateur radio operators. All this activity ceased when the United States entered World War I in April 1917. At this point, the U.S. government either took over or completely shut down all radio stations. For the duration of the war, private citizens could not legally own or operate a radio transmitter or receiver without special permission. The military continued to conduct research on radio technology and lifted radio restrictions when the war ended in late 1918. Regular commercial radio broadcasts

M ilestones in E arly R adio -T ec h nolog y D evelopment





James Clerk Maxwell predicts the existence of electromagnetic or radio waves that use the conducting layer in Earth’s atmosphere (i.e., electric waves can travel through the air).




Carl Friedrich Gauss proposes the Earth’s atmosphere contains a conducting layer.

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Heinrich Rudolf Hertz demonstrates the existence of radio waves based on Maxwell’s prediction.


Nicola Tesla demonstrates a wireless communications device.

Nathan B. Stubblefield creates and demonstrates a wireless communications device that can transmit voice and music.


Marchese Guglielmo Marconi invents radio telegraphy, which he calls “the wireless.”



Granville T. Woods invents railway telegraphy, which allows messages to be sent between moving trains.

Reginald A. Fessenden obtains a U.S. patent for his new radio transmitter engineered to use a high-speed electrical alternator to produce “continuous waves.” It will be the basis for amplitude modulation, or AM (medium-wave), radio.


Lee de Forest develops a reliable transmission technology for radio 1906 broadcasting of the human voice, Ernst Alexanderson for both point-to-point builds a working communication and broadcasts of high-frequency, entertainment and news. continuous-wave machine capable of transmitting a radio broadcast of the human voice and other sounds.

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began in 1920 when AM station KDKA of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reported results of the Harding–Cox presidential election.

WIDESPREAD PUBLIC ADOPTION OF RADIO In the United States in the early 1920s, roughly 6,000 amateur radio stations and 4,600 commercial stations run for profit had licenses. There were also some amateur enthusiasts who could be likened to computer geeks in the early days of personal computers and the Internet; but for most of the public, radio was still a novelty with limited application. However, a sporting event on July 2, 1921, would help establish radio as a major medium of mass communication. People across the country were keenly interested in the heavyweight boxing title fight between champion Jack Dempsey and challenger Georges Carpentier. Radio networks did not yet exist, so only one station, a temporary long-wave station, WJY, broadcast the bout live, with technical support from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), which, as a radio receiver manufacturer, wanted every American household to have a radio set (or two). Broadcast organizers telegraphed a transcript of the commentary to pioneering station KDKA in Pittsburgh. It then broadcast the fight with a slight delay. With relatively few personal radio receivers, most listeners gathered in halls where local organizers, including volunteer amateur radio operators, set up receivers and charged admission to offset costs. The evident breakthrough and promise of the new communications technology generated much media commentary, helping propel radio to mass-communication status. A broadcasting boom began after the Dempsey–Carpentier fight, with hundreds of radio stations springing up across the country, similar to the proliferation of Web servers in the mid- to late 1990s. Radio receivers were selling as fast as RCA and others could manufacture them. American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) began implementing programming for a national radio network in 1922 with flagship station WEAF in New York City, which quickly set the standard for the entire industry.

FM RADIO, EDWIN HOWARD ARMSTRONG, AND DAVID SARNOFF   Edwin Howard Armstrong Columbia University engineering professor who invented FM radio transmission.

  David Sarnoff Head of RCA, he promoted the development of television as a mass medium yet blocked the development of FM radio for years because RCA produced and sold AM radio receivers.

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In 1934, an important innovation in radio transmission technology occurred when Columbia University engineering professor Edwin Howard Armstrong (1890–1954) invented FM radio (and later, stereo FM radio) with his colleague John Bose. Armstrong completed his first field test on June 9, 1934, sending an organ recital via both AM and FM from an RCA tower on top of the Empire State Building to the home of a trusted old friend on Long Island. The FM organ came through loud and clear. The AM version had much more static. Armstrong and David Sarnoff (1891–1971), head of RCA, had started out as friends, who both recognized the great potential of radio broadcasting. But FM radio threatened to destroy the RCA empire built on the mass sales of AM radios, or “radio music boxes.” Once Sarnoff realized the magnitude of the invention, he blocked Armstrong by ordering RCA engineers to ask for more tests, lobbying federal regulators to deny Armstrong a license to test his invention, and even trying to obtain his patent. Armstrong responded as best he could, filing suit against RCA and many other radio companies infringing on the Armstrong FM radio patent.

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Tragically, in 1954, Armstrong, who had never enjoyed commercial success in his life, committed suicide after long-running legal battles left him virtually penniless and his marriage broke up. Ironically, his many lawsuits were settled shortly after his death, leaving a fortune to his widow and the Armstrong Foundation. The story of Armstrong’s invention and Sarnoff’s machinations to protect the RCA business model mirrors some Internet developments in which legal wrangling or threatened business interests have prevented better technologies from prevailing. For most of the first half of the twentieth century, AM radio listenership far exceeded FM. In the late 1970s, this shifted, and today FM listenership and stations are in the vast majority. FM radio ascended for a number of reasons, among them the inclusion of an FM dial in most car radios, changes in programming, and regulatory changes, combined with the fact that FM has less static.

CREATING A VIABLE BUSINESS MODEL FOR RADIO Just as with the Internet, the question of how to make radio broadcasting a viable business would prove complex and controversial. Experiments with commercial sponsorship through the mid-1920s drew outspoken criticism of advertising on public airwaves. The controversy was exemplified in the May 1924 issue of Radio Broadcast magazine, which sponsored a $500 contest for the best essay on “Who Is to Pay for Broadcasting—and How?” Eventually, a confluence of commercial interests, government decisions (sometimes influenced by commercial interests), and lack of coordination among advocates of publicly supported broadcasting made privately owned stations with on-air advertising the standard business model that continues to this day. Consequently, the engine that drives profits is audience size, especially among key demographic groups attractive to advertisers.

Edwin Howard Armstrong, inventor of FM radio, spent much of the latter part of his life battling companies that tried to squash FM radio because it threatened business models based on AM radio.

  Radio Act of 1927

THE RISE OF RADIO NETWORKS During the 1920s, the first commercial broadcasting networks were formed, initially as radio networks—affiliated radio stations in multiple cities all broadcasting a common core set of programming—and later as national television networks. Prior to the passage of the Radio Act of 1927 and the creation of the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), the predecessor to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), broadcasting was lively but haphazard. Numerous competing stations on the same or nearby frequencies often caused reception interference. Few regulations regarding transmitter power meant stronger signals could drown out weaker local transmitters. The FRC revoked thousands of radio broadcast licenses and instituted a system that favored fewer high-power stations over smaller but more numerous local low-power stations. This policy benefited large commercial companies over educational, religious, and small private broadcasters. The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) was founded in 1926 when Sarnoff of RCA purchased New York station WEAF (now WNBC) from AT&T for $1 million. That same year, NBC bought WJZ (licensed to Newark, New Jersey, but transmitting in New York) from Westinghouse and thus created the first network. CBS (Columbia Broadcasting Station) became the second network, first as the United Independent Broadcasters in 1927; and then, after going on the air with a partner, the Columbia Phonograph and Records Company; and finally becoming the

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An act of Congress that created the Federal Radio Commission, intended to regulate the largely chaotic airwaves and based on the principle that companies had a civic duty to use airwaves, a limited public good, responsibly.

  Federal Radio Commission (FRC) Formed by the Radio Act of 1927, the commission, the precursor to the FCC, created a policy that favored fewer high-power radio broadcasting stations rather than more numerous low-power stations.

  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Established in 1934, the principal communications regulatory body at the federal level in the United States.

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NPR and PRI: America’s Public Radio Networks National Public Radio (NPR) debuted on April 19, 1971, with live coverage of the Senate Vietnam hearings; and a month later, it broadcast All Things Considered. A not-for-profit membership organization, NPR produces and distributes news, cultural, and informational programs, linking the nation’s noncommercial radio stations into a national network. It broadcasts about one hundred hours of original programming each week, heard on more than 900 public radio stations nationwide by an audience of 25 million.16 reaches about 19 million visitors a month on its various digital platforms. Public Radio International (PRI), established in 1983, produces and distributes additional public radio programming, such as Marketplace and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home

Companion, to some 900 affiliate stations in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam and via SiriusXM satellite radio. PRI’s international programs include The World, produced in collaboration with the BBC World Service and WGBH Radio Boston.17 Public radio distinguishes itself from commercial radio in a number of ways, including more extensive, impartial, and original audio news, especially long-form audio reporting as heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. NPR also offers extensive programming in classical and folk music, jazz, and opera, featuring a variety of live transmissions of the performing arts from theaters and concert halls. Evening programs include those that introduce listeners to classical music as well as to international musicians and unique musical styles.

Columbia Broadcasting System. In 1928, cigar maker Sam Paley bought CBS for $400,000, installing son William as head and moving network headquarters from Philadelphia to New York. Under William’s longtime leadership, and later under that of his corporate heir, Frank Stanton, CBS maintained the number one position, describing itself as the Tiffany Network—although it was also called Black Rock, a reference in part to the black marble façade of its midtown Manhattan headquarters. By 1935, fifty-eight of sixty-two stations nationwide were part of either the NBC or the CBS network. Not until the 1940s did ABC, a third commercial network, emerge.

CONSOLIDATION IN RADIO STATION OWNERSHIP Throughout most of the twentieth century, radio ownership in the United States was relatively diverse. This was partly a result of federal laws preventing any one person or organization from owning more than twenty FM stations and twenty AM stations nationwide. Regulatory changes in 1992 and the passage of the Telecommunications Act in 1996 resulted in new FCC rules that eliminated such restrictions, although an owner must still be a U.S. citizen. Former FCC duopoly rules prohibited sole ownership, operation, or control of more than two AM and two FM stations in the largest markets. The combined audience share of the coowned stations was also limited to 25 percent, with even further restrictions for smaller markets. Now the FCC permits a single entity to own substantially more in the same service market. This shift in regulatory policy produced a trend in the 1990s and early twentyfirst century toward increasing consolidation. Since the passage of the act, more than 4,400 radio stations have changed ownership, and the radio industry has become more of an oligopoly. For most of the first fifty years of radio broadcasting, radio was a small business; and owners, even if affiliated with a national network, were

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longtime residents of their station’s town. Although this is still the case in many smaller towns, most stations in big cities have become part of a larger corporate entity. Increasingly, groups now control eight or more stations in a single market, and the most powerful media groups own most of the large, highly profitable stations. Some support consolidation for a number of reasons, including increased efficiency; more economical, centralized production; larger budgets that permit greater programming experimentation and development; and better management. But critics argue that remote group ownership typically means less sensitivity to local concerns. In the past few years, however, certain radio groups have been deconsolidating and selling some of their vast holdings. iHeartMedia, formerly named Clear Channel, sold almost half of its 1,200 radio stations and all of its 51 television stations since 2007, partly because of its intent to become a privately held company and partly because of FCC regulations. Despite these sales, iHeartMedia’s stations and markets exceed that of the total number of the next three radio groups combined. In 2008, Cumulus Media, the second-largest radio group in 2011 in number of AM and FM stations owned, also went private. Although the move away from consolidation may seem like a good thing for the industry, the shift from publicly traded companies to privately held firms may also mean more business decisions based purely on the bottom line without consideration of the public role of radio stations.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Two major movements have shaped the development of radio: the shift early on from small, independent stations to large-scale, powerful commercial stations and the later shift from terrestrial radio stations to online personal radio stations. Identify some consequences of these changes, and explain which you personally consider most important.

The Radio Industry Today Declining American radio revenues every year since 2006 has shown a reversal, with a 5.4 percent rebound in 2010 and another 1.2 percent increase in 2011 to $14.1 billion, according to BIA/Kelsey, a group that tracks and advises the radio industry. BIA/Kelsey projects over-the-air revenues for radio will reach $14.5 billion in 2014 and nearly $16 billion by 2018.18 In addition, online radio revenues are also growing, and BIA/Kelsey expects them to be nearly $1 billion by 2018. The turnaround was in part due to a rise in digital revenues, which industry experts believe will continue to grow in the coming years. Today, there are approximately 10,000 commercial and 2,500 noncommercial radio stations in the United States, the latter group including NPR affiliates and college, community, and religious stations. All U.S. stations are assigned call letters designating the station and their geographic location east or west of the Mississippi River. Stations east of the Mississippi have W as their first call letter, and stations to the west, K, although some exceptions exist for call letters assigned before boundaries were determined, such as KDKA in Pittsburgh. Under an international agreement issued at the London International Radiotelegraphic Conference in 1912, different countries were awarded different letters. The United States received KDA through KZZ.

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Radio Station Programming

  daypart A segment of time radio and television program planners use to determine their primary audience during that time of day or night.

Radio grew in its early years to become a dominant medium of mass communication. Large audiences assembled to listen to individual programs during much of the first half of the twentieth century. But the rise of television in the years following World War II provided serious competition, a new media landscape to which radio, like magazines, adapted by specializing. This specialization takes a number of forms, including program formats, the time of day for certain formats, and especially audience demographics. In radio, a day is broken up into different time segments called “dayparts.” The 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. daypart, for example, is when most people listen to the radio as they get ready for work or school or during their commute. Accordingly, the programming emphasizes frequent news, traffic, and weather reports as well as some of the more outspoken talk radio shows such as Imus in the Morning. Radio stations are organized by programming into dozens of formats that draw varied audiences.19 Contemporary-hit radio, for example, attracts a much different audience than the country format—by far the most popular in the United States, with 2,014 stations, as Table 4-2 shows. The fastest growing format is Spanish language. To reduce operating costs, more and more stations are relying on computerized automated systems that use remote DJs and set music. DJs ostensibly chattering and choosing songs in a local studio may never have even visited the city from where they are ostensibly broadcasting. Automated programming can cause problems during times of emergency. In 2002, for example, a train carrying ammonia derailed in Minot, North Dakota. Emergency services were in disarray, and power was out in many places. Yet, as there was no actual staff at the six Clear Channel radio stations (out of nine stations in the city), regular programming was not preempted with evacuation or safety information for concerned residents.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: List the techniques your favorite radio station uses to distinguish its music format and the station itself. Consider things such as sound effects, promos, and DJ style. Now find a station of a similar genre elsewhere in the country (via the Internet). Listen to it, and identify similarities and differences.

Outlook for the Radio Industry Industry experts remain cautiously optimistic and predict slight growth in the future, thanks in part to an expected increase in digital revenues that, although large, will remain a fraction of overall revenues. Terrestrial radio stations will continue to exist and promote music, despite the rising popularity of music subscription services and downloadable music. Sales of stations to the top radio groups have been relatively steady in recent years, and further consolidation will likely continue. Radio groups are also buying music subscription services, such as iHeartMedia’s 2011 acquisition of Thumbplay, which was not even a year old. Slacker, Pandora, Spotify, and the like often promote their services as personal radio stations. Users can create and save their own playlists in “My Stations”

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table 4-2


  Most Popular Radio Programming Genres NUMBER OF STATIONS (United States)

Genre Country








Classic Hits


Adult Contemporary





CHR Top 40     Classic Rock


Hot Adult Contemporary




Source: “Leading radio formats in the United States in February 2013, by number of stations” Statista website, accessed November 26, 2014,

or “Channels,” names meant to evoke radio, whether on the desktop, mobile, or wearable device. Their on-demand nature, which actually makes them more like personalized audio programming than what has traditionally been considered radio, highlights the blurring of online music subscription services, downloadable audio, and traditional radio. Podcasting and satellite radio are also affecting our perceptions of what constitutes radio. Most radio stations have websites where they promote their shows, provide extra content as podcasts, and let users listen live to shows. Proponents hype satellite as the future of radio while skeptics dismiss it as having an unsustainable business model.

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PODCASTING Increasing in popularity from 2004, podcasts are not identical to other downloaded or streaming formats. Although they are downloaded in one respect, the technology that interfaces with the user’s computer differs from a direct file download. Podcasts are often episodic or belong to a series of related content, such as a news program or an investigative report. They are also easy to get and download, much like RSS (Rich Site Summary) feeds do with blogs, sending subscribers new content automatically. Podcasts permit more flexible content delivery. Listening at the actual time of a certain report is no longer required, nor is visiting a website to download an audio file. Users can simply subscribe to receive podcasts and listen at their convenience on their computer or mobile device. Podcasts have proved popular not only for talk-based radio, such as NPR features, but also for sports and music. Harkening back to radio’s earliest days, several companies in recent years are specializing in podcasting farm news, information on weather, commodity prices, and other news of agricultural interest. Easy and inexpensive to produce, podcasts could allow local radio news to be heard once again in communities where distant radio conglomerates now own stations. Among the most popular podcasts to date is Serial, which debuted in 2014. 20 Produced by the creators of the public radio program This American Life, Serial offers a series of episodes that examine via in-depth reporting a true story told in audio narrative form. The first series, which reexamined the 1999 murder of a Maryland teen, generated a large following of more than 40 million people. 21

SATELLITE RADIO More akin to audio programming than to traditional broadcast radio, satellite radio uses digital signals broadcast from a satellite, beaming the same programming across a much wider territory than its terrestrial cousin. With up to seventy channels of CD-quality music in a variety of formats, and dozens of third-party news, sports, talk, and old-time radio programs (most of them commercial free as a subscription-based service), satellite radio has won a loyal audience of 24 ­million subscribers in the United States. And as  with cable television, its subscription system entails fewer content restrictions. Sirius Satellite Radio, which started out as CD Radio in the early 1990s, launched its satellites in 2000 and began broadcasting in 2002. When XM Satellite Radio launched soon after, the two companies competed vigorously in offering exclusive access to various sports channels, hosted music channels, and noted talk-radio hosts. In 2004, shock jock Howard Stern signed an exclusive five-year, $500 million contract with Sirius. Some media observers claimed this was a game changer that greatly enhanced the status of satellite radio. Others saw it as reminiscent of the wasteful spending of the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and argued that Stern would essentially disappear from the public eye Radio shock jock Howard Stern’s move to satellite radio was hailed by (or ear) because of the smaller satellite radio audience. some and criticized by others.

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Trusting in the Power of the Airwaves Radio has proven to be a very important information source in developing countries, where spotty electricity service, government regulations, low education, and scant incomes have kept most people from owning a television, let alone a computer and Internet connection. Radios, however, are nearly ubiquitous, thanks in part to their portability, low cost, and ability to run on batteries or solar power or by hand cranks. Because radio does not require literacy, it has proven especially valuable in communicating with poor, often rural ­populations—such as in Southeast Asian, Latin America, and Africa—as a means of development and distribution of innovations such as new agricultural techniques or health advances. UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, reports that 95 percent of the world’s population has access to radio, about double the percentage that has Internet access.22,23 UNESCO states that radio plays an especially important role in the developing world because of its ubiquitous presence, low cost, and reliability. The implications of radio’s capabilities are important for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and others working in the developing world, for they highlight how

important it is for those from developed nations not to take for granted certain cultural assumptions about media and how they are used. For example, an awardwinning print advertising campaign about disease prevention in the United States or Europe may not be understood or even seen by wide swaths of the population in a developing country, whereas a radio message could reach many more people who will perceive it as a reliable source of information.

Kenyan women listening to the radio.

In mid-2008, Sirius completed its acquisition of former competitor XM S­ atellite Radio and became Sirius XM Radio. The company almost filed for bankruptcy in early 2009—as large debts came due—but Liberty Media, owner of DirecTV, rescued it at the last minute, acquiring 40  percent ownership in the process. Sirius XM Radio continues its technological innovation, improving receivers and providing mobile phone apps, for example.

media careers Career paths in radio and the recording industry are among the most rapidly changing and unsettled in the media industry. Perhaps the most exciting opportunities involve entrepreneurial approaches. These career paths emphasize both digital savvy as well as a sense of innovation in how to produce popular audioformat programming that can appeal to an increasingly mobile and international marketplace. Listeners typically discover new music on the radio, often online; but the vast majority in the important demographic of young listeners from age 12 to 24 use YouTube to watch videos and keep up to date with the latest hits.24

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A few serious fans may turn their passion for music into a career as a DJ at a radio station or nightclub. Disc jockeys who cater special events such as weddings or fundraisers need to be familiar with various types of music. Others may specialize in a particular genre. Regardless, DJs need to be sensitive to the musical tastes of their particular audience because their success depends on the ability to develop a loyal following of radio listeners or club hoppers. Sometimes disc jockeys transition to careers in the record industry, although for most, spinning remains only a part-time gig.

LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD Radio is still an evolving medium, with many forms of delivery including traditional terrestrial broadcasting, online distribution, and satellite transmission via Sirius XM Radio. Future radio delivery may not lie in the heavens, but it will undoubtedly be grounded in certain consumer behaviors and desires readily apparent across all media, especially with music. Although transmission and hardware will continue to change, radio itself— or, more accurately, the delivery of audio content to a mass audience—seems destined to remain an important form of mass communication. This is largely because radio, almost alone among mass media, allows people to engage easily in other activities while listening. No matter how advanced or portable media technology becomes, we cannot watch TV or read a book or newspaper while driving safely, for example. The shift to an on-demand and participatory media environment will become more significant. Satellite radio has signaled this shift, along with the various music subscription services or personal radio stations. Services such as Pandora, Slacker, and Spotify may well represent the future of radio: a highly personalized system that not only responds to your musical tastes but uses special algorithms and collaborative filtering to suggest new artists who play similar styles of music. These changes may so drastically alter how radio stations think of their programming that the term “radio” may technically become obsolete or come to mean something very different. Business models or ways of creating, promoting, and distributing music are still in transition. Although advances in technology improved both the sound quality and portability of recorded music, basic business policies endured. Innovative musicians are using digital crowdfunding to underwrite their own musical enterprises, circumventing the traditional record labels. There are two main schools of thought about the state of the music industry today, which also apply to other entertainment media such as television and film. One camp claims that the music industry has only itself to blame for not adapting earlier to the digital repercussions for established business models. Rather than initiating bullying lawsuits, record labels should focus on developing alternative revenue streams, some of which already have growing sales such as digital downloads of à la carte songs, music subscription services, and ringtone sales. The second school of thought explains diminished sales as the consequence of file sharing, viewed as theft, pure and simple. So although the interest in music remains as strong as ever, new revenue sources are still far from making up for losses of recent years, a drop-off that the industry blames on illegal practices that hurt not only corporations but also artists who rely on royalties to survive.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised; It Will Be Mashed Up

1. Have you ever bought a vinyl LP? 2. Have you ever bought a song online? 3. What media device do you typically use to listen to music? 4. (T/F) Revenue from digital music (mostly downloads and subscriptions) surpassed CD revenue for the first time in 2012. 5. Where is the dividing line between radio stations that have call letters starting with K and those starting with W?

7. Why is radio called “the wireless” in other English-speaking countries? 8. (T/F) Satellite radio does not have the same restrictions regarding content as broadcast radio stations. 9. Do you pay to subscribe to one or more music subscription services such as Pandora, Slacker, or Spotify? 10. How much would you be willing to pay per month to listen to commercial-free radio?

6. What is the most popular music format for radio stations? ANSWERS: 4. True.  5. Mississippi River.  6. Country music.  7. Because it was perceived as a wireless form of telegraphy.  8. True.

FURTHER READING All You Need to Know About the Music Business, 8th ed. Donald Passman (2012) Hal Leonard Corp. The Business of Music, 10th ed. William Krasilovsky, Sidney Shemel, John Gross, Jonathan Feinstein (2007) Billboard Books. The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution. David Kusek, Gerd Leonhard (2008) Berklee Press. Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. Steve Knopper (2009) Free Press. The Listener’s Voice: Early Radio and the American Public. Elena Razlogova (2011) University of ­Pennsylvania Press. Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio. Tom Lewis (1993) Harper Perennial Library. Hello, Everybody! The Dawn of American Radio. Anthony Rudel (2008) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Sound Business: Newspapers, Radio, and the Politics of New Media. Michael Stamm (2011) University of Pennsylvania Press. Censorship: The Threat to Silence Talk Radio. Brian Jennings, Sean Hannity (2009) Threshold Editions. Something in the Air: Radio, Rock, and the Revolution That Shaped a Generation. Marc Fisher (2007) Random House. Right of the Dial: The Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio. Alex Foege (2009) Faber and Faber. World Radio TV Handbook 2013: The Directory of Global Broadcasting. WRTH editors (Jan. 15, 2013), WRTH. Radio Content in the Digital Age: The Evolution of a Sound Medium. Angeliki Gazi, Guy Starkey, Stanislaw Jedrzejewski (2011) Intellect/University of Chicago Press.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 126 Photography 127 Movies 128 History of the Movie Industry 139 Movie Industry Today 142 Marketing and Distribution for Movies 143 Movie-Industry Business Model 143 Outlook for the Movie Industry 144 Television 146 History of Television 153 Television Distribution 154 Television Industry Today 156 Television-Industry Business Model 157 Outlook for the Television Industry

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5 Visual Media



ristan is an undergraduate at Rutgers University. Like many college students, she doesn’t watch much TV in the conventional sense. Between classes, work, and sorority life, she doesn’t have much time left over; and she doesn’t have a TV set in her apartment or a cable or fiber TV subscription. That doesn’t mean she misses all her favorite shows, though, like The Walking Dead and Bob’s Burgers. She uses her mobile device to log on to any of several mobile video services and watches online and on demand. Americans love their TV and movies, but how they get that content is changing dramatically. Whereas broadcast television once dominated the TV viewing landscape, cable, fiber, and satellite TV entered the mix in a big way in the latter part of the twentieth century. Online viewing, particularly via mobile digital devices, has become the new TV and movie viewing platform of the twenty-first century. Increasingly, people multitask when interacting with media, texting friends or tweeting while watching, say, American Idol. Soon a show without interactivity will seem like a relic. In 1953, interactivity meant a child viewer drawing a bridge on wax paper overlaid on the TV screen, as with CBS’s Winky Dink and You, the first regularly scheduled interactive TV show. Television advertisers are also developing new ways to watch us as we watch TV. Cable and satellite companies record our viewing behavior, information used with other demographic data gleaned from our daily transactions to match viewer profiles with specific advertisements. In the future, you and a friend may be watching the same program and texting each other about it but receiving different advertisements. This may feel Big Brother 1984 to you, but television advertisers are simply trying to do what Internet advertisers have been doing for some time now: target ads to specific consumer behavior.


Explain the role photography has played in our visual culture and its continued importance within mass communication.


Describe the impact of technological changes on the film and television industries.


Explain how business models and structures have influenced the film industry.


Describe the development of television from its origins to digital TV.


Explain the differences between terrestrial, cable, and satellite broadcasting and what they mean for viewers.


Describe the implications of the convergence of telecommunications companies and content companies.


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  cord-cutters Those who have switched from cable or other connections to Internet-delivered TV.

  cord-nevers Those who have known only mobile or wireless Internetdelivered TV.

  surveillance Primarily the journalism function of mass communication, which provides information about processes, issues, events, and other developments in society.

  cultural transmission The process of passing on culturally relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values from person to person or group to group.

Photographs, television, and movies shape our world, with journalism, entertainment, and art highlighting the importance of the visual in our lives. The photographic lens has long defined the linear narrative of visual storytelling, and recent changes with digitization allow visual media to render and create realities even more vividly. The past hundred years of filmmaking still provide the foundation for digital videographers as they explore working with more portable equipment and more sophisticated editing tools and effects. Changes resulting from online consumption of video, film, and television are not yet fully understood, but already for many the Internet is a more significant source of imagery than is television. Sources of video content online include the popular YouTube and many similar video-sharing sites. Cord-cutters are increasingly common among those who once relied on a cable or other connection to get their TV, whereas cord-nevers are those who have known only mobile or wireless Internet-delivered TV.

Photography Long important to mass communications, still images, or photographs, continue to perform two main functions: surveillance and cultural transmission. Photos and other images can verify factual claims. Whereas words might provide the narrative, photos confirm its truth, whether it involves a purported plane crash, an extramarital affair, or a mass grave in a war-torn country. Despite the possibility of being digitally doctored, photographs are still one of the surest ways to support facts. They transmit culture by what they show, how they show it, and which emotions they stir. At a glance, a photograph can tell a story or convey information quickly while engaging and entertaining.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Have digital film and television made photography less relevant? Why or why not? How do you explain the popularity of the “selfie”?

HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY Lynsey Addario published a memoir in 2015 that documents her life as a war photographer, a calling she has pursued while pregnant and even after having being kidnapped—twice.

  camera obscura A dark box or room with a small hole that allows an inverted image of an outside scene to be shown on the opposite inner wall.

  Louis Daguerre Inventor of the daguerreotype, an early type of photography.

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The principles involved in creating photographs had been around hundreds of years before photography was invented. The earliest recorded use of a camera obscura—a dark box or room with a small hole that allows an inverted image of an outside scene to be shown on the opposite inner wall—is in the writings of Leonardo da Vinci, who explains how a camera obscura can aid drawing scenery, moving a sheet of paper around until the scene comes into sharp focus for tracing. The other important element, understanding how light can affect certain chemicals, was also known for hundreds of years. Although some scientists could produce photographs with various light-sensitive chemicals, they had no way to make the images permanent. In June 1827, Joseph Niépce, using an asphalt-like material that hardened after exposure to light, created a picture, although it was unclear and required eight hours of exposure.1 After the death of Niépce, his partner, Frenchman Louis Daguerre, unveiled in January 1839 the daguerreotype, a method of creating a positive image on a

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metal plate, with a reduced exposure time of thirty minutes or so.2 Advances oc  daguerreotype curred over the next one hundred and fifty years in exposure time, image quality, Photograph created by exposing a and color photography. As cameras became more portable and user friendly, their positive image on a metal plate. popularity increased with the general public. And the Internet and wireless communications made it possible to share photos instantly with friends, family, or the   Mathew B. Brady entire world. Nineteenth-century photographer In the early days, when specialized knowledge was still required, Mathew acclaimed for his Civil War images B. Brady was highly acclaimed for his Civil War photos and portraits of and portraits of famous people. famous people, many of whom are best known to us today through his work. ­Historians have criticized Brady for sometimes arranging his subjects, including battlefield corpses, for dramatic photocomposition purposes, a practice considered unethical in modern journalism. Nevertheless, Brady and other ­photographers helped the public see the conflict in the Civil War through the lens of the press, the first war documented by means of photography. Early photography was not limited to journalism. Notably, Eadweard Muybridge used it for scientific documentation. His famous photo series was the first to document how a horse runs. Such applications help us see things that the human eye alone cannot. Today, scientific The Civil War was the first war to be documented by means of photography. images of the heavens and of the microscopic alike captivate us. Some are even considered visual art.

PHOTOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY TODAY The photography industry, like the more prominent film and television industries, has experienced great change. Consider the impact of digital cameras. Only ten years after film sales peaked in 1999, Kodak announced it would stop making Kodachrome color film. Despite efforts to capitalize on the shift to digital by selling digital cameras and photo printers, Kodak continued to lose money and declared bankruptcy in January 2012. Fujifilm, headquartered in Tokyo and the world’s largest photographic company, has also seen business diminish, but it integrated digital technology more effectively into its business model and has a range of popular digital cameras as well as inkjet and laser photo paper. Today, professional photographers have more powerful cameras than ever before, and digital cameras allow anyone to take professional-quality pictures without manual camera adjustments.

Movies Still images were to mass media of the mid-nineteenth century what motion pictures were to the twentieth. At the end of the nineteenth century, activity could be recorded for the first time. More important for the movie industry, technology could not only re-create reality but create it.

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Rolling Stone magazine received heavy criticism over this cover photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted and sentenced to death for setting bombs that killed three people and injured scores more at the 2013 Boston Marathon. CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: Do aspects of the photograph seem to glamorize Tsarnaev? If so, which ones? Would another photograph, from a different angle or with a different expression, provoke the same reaction? Do you think reactions would be different to a cover photo of Tsarnaev on Time or U.S. News and World Report?

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D evelopment o f Photography





Mathew Brady uses photographs to document the Civil War, helping bring more visual news coverage of war to the public.


Louis Daguerre and Joseph Niépce develop the daguerreotype, a method of printing photographs.


Eadweard Muybridge’s innovative use of serial photographs sees what the human eye cannot: the rapid movement of a running horse.



“Pictorial” newspapers begin widely publishing photographs and other illustrations of news events and subjects.

  Thomas Alva Edison His inventions included the electric light, the phonograph, and the Kinetoscope. Edison’s lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey, had over sixty scientists and produced as many as four hundred patent applications a year.

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George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, invents roll film, which makes it more practical for newspapers to publish timely news photos and makes photography something that can be done by the general public.

The modern process of color film is developed after decades of trying unsuccessfully to create color photography. The process would be perfected in the 1930s.


The first instant camera, the Polaroid Model 95, starts a boom in sales of instant cameras by Polaroid.

The primary function of motion pictures is to entertain, with millions enjoying the sweeping epics, slapstick comedies, romance, action, and adventure of feature-length films. However, as with much entertainment, cultural transmission is also important. Many fans and critics alike consider cinema more than simple entertainment, a serious visual art form comparable to painting, sculpture, or architecture, with a history of important social influence. Still, most commercially produced motion pictures in the United States are intended to make money, only occasionally rising to the level of serious art. Some cable television channels are devoted almost exclusively to films—such as the Independent Film Channel, Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Classics, Home Box Office, Cinemax, and Showtime—in addition to the frequent (and repeated) showing of movies on commercial and cable channels such as TNT. This means films remain part of the entertainment landscape long after leaving theaters. Yet, despite competition from other media, predictions that movie theaters would close as people stayed home watching television have proved unfounded.

History of the Movie Industry In 1891, Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931) created the Kinetoscope, a “peepshow” precursor to the motion picture viewer. Yet Edison’s failure to patent this technology permitted two French brothers, Louis Lumière (1864–1948) and

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Kodak, after developing variations of digital camera systems throughout the mid-1980s, releases the first professional digital camera system.


The peak of sales of roll film. After 1999, sales of roll film drop an estimated 25 to 30 percent per year as more consumers buy digital cameras.


Oscar-winning director Malik Bendjelloul even used his iPhone to finish shooting his movie when he ran out of money for 8 mm film.



Polaroid announces the end of production of instant-film products, a consequence of the emergence of digital imaging.


Smartphone cameras such as those in the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S III are of such high quality, with 8-megapixel resolution and network connectivity, that many consumers use them as their main photographic device.


The Apple QuickTake 100 camera is the first consumer-level digital camera that allows connection with a home computer system via a serial cable. Kodak, Casio, and Sony release similar cameras in subsequent years.

Auguste Lumière (1862–1954), to patent a more portable camera, film-processing unit, and projector in 1895, a suitcase-sized single device that allowed shooting in the morning and footage that could be processed in the afternoon and projected for an audience in the evening. On December 28, 1895, the Lumières debuted their process to a paying audience at the Grand Café in Paris, showing a series of ten 15- to 60-second glimpses of real scenes recorded outdoors. Soon the rage all over France, the Cinématographe was clearly based on Edison’s machine but could show motion pictures to many simultaneously.3 Failing to recognize their invention’s potential, the Lumières reproduced daily life rather than telling a story. Louis felt that the novelty of viewing moving images on a screen that could be seen by walking outside would eventually wear off. This mindset differed from that of other film pioneers, such as Edison and Georges Méliès, who saw that film could change reality as well as replicate it.

SILENT ERA: NEW MEDIUM, NEW TECHNOLOGIES, NEW STORYTELLING Adding sound to film was not technologically feasible in the beginning. Silent films could more easily cross language barriers than their “talkie” descendants because their few words, usually presented as text on the screen, could easily be translated into the local language.

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The Photojournalist’s Dilemma: Immersion in Conflict Vice News has emerged since its launch in December of 2013 as a pioneering enterprise in reporting the news without the traditional filter of mainstream media. Vice News reporters have used wearable technologies such as Google Glass and Livestream to deliver video news in real time from around the world to audiences everywhere. Editors at Vice News subscribe to a model of journalism called the “Immersionist” school. Many in the news industry and academy view these methods as the antithesis of traditional news reporting by diving deeply into stories and not attempting to provide coverage of a wide array of topics. In 2014, Vice News used Google Glass to transmit via the Internet real-time video reports via Livestream for hours on end. Reporters using Google Glass delivered largely unfiltered footage of protests in Istanbul, Turkey; Montreal, Canada; and Ferguson, Missouri.4 Providing narrative audio to accompany this raw coverage, these video streams gave viewers extraordinary depth of reporting on breaking news. Critics, however, contend that such unfiltered reporting may fail to provide the critical perspective needed to put events into meaningful context. Reporters, critics claim, need to maintain a certain level of healthy skepticism to avoid being manipulated by organizers of events.

Video journalists and photojournalists sometimes struggle with critical questions such as these, and a core part of the answers deal with journalism ethics. The Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics states that a reporter’s first responsibility is to the truth, a difficult objective to achieve when covering conflict. This is especially true in war, where, as Phillip Knightly observes, truth is the first casualty. Does a photo or a video tell the truth? Can they do so, even with an appropriate caption or narration? What about the rights of the subject of the photo or video? Perhaps just as important are the ethical consequences of trauma for the reporter witnessing such atrocities. 5 In the theater of war, photojournalists and their news organizations have an ethical mandate not only to report the truth but to recognize and try to minimize harmful health consequences. Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) can manifest itself in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, and judgment errors. PTSD occurs in more than a quarter (28.6 percent) of war correspondents, about the same rate as among combat veterans and higher than among police officers.

Early film storytelling was limited and short (a few minutes). Nevertheless, filmmakers around the world soon had Cinématographes and experimented with new ways of visual storytelling, many of which are still used today and taken for granted in movies.6

Méliès and Griffith Unlike the Lumières, Frenchman Georges Méliès (1861–1938) used the medium to conjure and create illusions. He was the first to make objects suddenly appear, disappear, or change. Among the most memorable was his celluloid transformation of a carriage into a hearse. Méliès pioneered innovative special effects, including the first double exposure (La Caverne maudite, 1898), the first split-screen shot (Un Homme de tête, 1898), and the first dissolve (Cendrillon, 1899). Méliès notwithstanding, many silent films were little more than novelties. But by the 1910s, the medium began to evolve into an important storytelling vehicle. Birth of a Nation, American D. W. Griffith’s 1915 controversial classic, was the first major full-length film to introduce many innovative cinematic techniques

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such as crosscutting (parallel editing) to portray battle scenes. He often depicted the action in one set of shots moving from right to left while another moved left to right.

Murnau, Flaherty, and Eisenstein Innovation in filming, lighting, editing, and storytelling continued throughout the silent era. In 1922, German director F. W. Murnau (1888–1931) created Nosferatu, an unforgettable adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula tale that helped develop the language of film. Also in 1922, American Robert Flaherty (1884–1951) directed Nanook of the North, the first great documentary film. This depiction of the life of an Eskimo whaler is still shown in college anthropology courses. Flaherty edited the film in New York after living among the Eskimos for six months while filming. Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein (1898–1948) pioneered fast cuts between scenes, similar to the editing commonly seen in music videos. Until then, most filmmakers kept the camera stationary, confining scenes to the picture frame. In 1925, he released Battleship Potemkin, a silent depiction of the 1905 revolt in Odessa by Russian sailors. A famous editing sequence, “The Odessa Steps,” intercuts shots of trapped townspeople with shots of czarist troops firing on the crowd, an emotionally charged scene imitated in homage in several films including Brian De Palma’s (1987) The Untouchables.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Camera-equipped drones are rapidly emerging as important tools for motion-picture storytellers, with the BBC in 2014 using a camera-equipped drone to create a documentary and other videographers using this innovative technology. If these silent film directors had benefitted from access to this new technology, how might they have used it to tell their stories differently?

SOUND AND COLOR Although technology had to some degree revolutionized movies, sound and color were needed to fully recreate what people saw and heard. By the turn of the nineteenth century, several alternative but complex and cumbersome methods of producing color motion pictures had been developed, such as hand tinting or hand coloring scenes. Around 1920, a system used a beam splitter with a prism to divide light entering the lens, capturing the different colors on alternating frames. This produced the first successful feature-length color films in the 1920s. Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation, founded in 1922, became the standard for color motion pictures for the next three decades. Among the earliest Technicolor films were The Black Pirate with Douglas Fairbanks in 1925 and Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz in 1939. Not until the 1950s did color films, captured without prisms, beam splitters, or alternating frames, become more common.

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Breaking with the contemporary norm, The Artist in 2011 was both in black and white and silent. It won five Oscars, including Best Picture.

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Sound was easier. Even the earliest silent movies were not wholly silent. Live pianists, actors, and even entire orchestras added sound during showings. Actors sometimes accompanied showings, talking about their roles and answering audience questions before or afterward. In 1896, a paying audience saw the first sound film short in Berlin. In 1927, Al Jolson starred in The Jazz Singer. This first commercially successful “talkie” was not a sound movie by contemporary standards. It contained little dialog but had subtitles and recorded music played back, a technology soon replaced by the superior sound-on-film systems (i.e., an optical soundtrack). In 1925, the first motion picture to synchronize sound was produced, more as a technical experiment than as a commercial endeavor. By 1929, recording and playing back sound synchronously with the image had become more practicable. Very few silent films were made after this time, with the notable exceptions being those by ­Charlie Chaplin in the 1930s and The Artist, a

Selected M ilestones in E arly M otion Pictures




Sergei Eisenstein, director. Battleship Potemkin, a silent film known particularly for its editing sequence “the Odessa Steps.”


Louis Daguerre and Joseph Niépce develop the daguerreotype, a method of printing photographs.


Robert Flaherty, director. Nanook of the North, the first great documentary.

Al Jolson, actor. The Jazz Singer, the first commercially successful motion picture with sound.


1925 1919


Georges Méliès, director. First double exposure (La Caverne maudite), an advance in special effects.

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MGM, motion picture company; Maureen O’Sullivan, actress. Tarzan and His Mate reveals a scantily clad Jane and a prolonged underwater nude scene, contributing to a public backlash and the strict enforcement of the Hays morals code in movie content.

Oscar Micheaux, director. Birth of Race, African American response to the racial stereotypes portrayed in Birth of a Nation.

Technicolor Motion Picture Corp.; Douglas Fairbanks, actor. The Black Pirate, among the first successful color major motion pictures.

Walt Disney, animator, voice, director. Disney’s first animated hit, Steamboat Willie, introduced Mickey Mouse.


Walt Disney, director. Flowers and Trees, the first color cartoon.

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2011 French film shot in black and white that won three Academy Awards including Best Picture. Some silent-era stars could not adapt either because of heavy foreign accents or unappealing voices. Screenwriting and filming changed dramatically, as stories were written for the spoken word rather than visual effect. Slapstick comedy was out, and witty one-liners and joke telling were in. Because of cumbersome microphones, cameras also became more stationary; and experimentation with moving cameras, innovative editing, and interesting camera angles became less common. Although there were winners and losers with the development of sound, the industry itself was unfazed by technological change. In the words of Al Jolson, “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.”

HOLLYWOOD MOVIE MOGULS The United States motion picture industry began on the eastern seaboard, especially New York City, the center of entertainment, with its Broadway and vaudeville theaters. Thomas Edison’s laboratories were also nearby, in New Jersey. Soon after, the powerful movie moguls of the early 1900s created Hollywood, where better weather permits year-round film production. Actors, producers, and directors relocated, and a split developed between theater (and, later, television) in New York and film in Hollywood. Most television shows are now filmed in Hollywood studios as well, where the U.S. movie industry is securely based. A number of regional centers for movie production also exist, including Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. Let’s consider some Hollywood movie moguls active in the first half of the twentieth century.

Warner Brothers Born in Poland (except for Jack), the Warner brothers, Albert (1884–1976), Harry (1881–1958), Jack (1892–1978), and Sam (1887–1927), founded a movie studio in 1923 that left a lasting mark on the industry. In 1903, Harry hocked his family’s delivery horse to buy a used Edison Kinetoscope projector with which the brothers created a traveling movie show in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 1905, they opened a small theater, then moved into film production and distribution. They launched “Warner Features” in St. Louis, Missouri, and then Warner Brothers Studio in California. Sam Warner’s “canned vaudeville” propelled the studio to a leadership position. In 1927, The Jazz Singer launched the new era of motion pictures with sound, the first of many classics during the powerful studio system, including Captain Blood (1935) and Casablanca (1942).

Walt Disney Born in Chicago, Walter Elias Disney (1901–1965) expressed an early interest in drawing and enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute in 1915. With forty dollars in his pocket, Walt left Missouri in August 1923 for Los Angeles, where his older brother, Roy, lived. Combining their meager resources and borrowing $500, the brothers set up shop in their uncle’s garage and soon began making animated films. In 1928, their first hit, Steamboat Willie, introduced Mickey Mouse, who talked and sang, featuring Walt’s own voice but very little of his own skillful animation.

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Thus, a star that made Disney a household name was born. In 1937, Disney’s first full-length feature animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, broke all box office records. In the next five years, Disney also produced Pinocchio, ­Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi. During World War II, most of the Disney facilities produced special government work, including propaganda films for the armed services. Walt opened Disneyland in Los Angeles in 1955 and Walt Disney World in Orlando in 1971. Always on the technological cutting edge, Disney introduced Technicolor with the 1932 animation Flowers and Trees. Part of the Silly Symphonies series, this first color cartoon won Disney his first Oscar. Also a pioneer in television, he produced his first programs in 1954, including the popular Mickey Mouse Club, and was among the first to offer color programming with Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in 1961. Disney won forty-seven Academy Awards, more than anyone else, and seven Emmys.

Samuel Goldwyn Walt Disney was a pioneer in animation and entertainment and a talented animator in his own right.

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Schmuel Gelbfisz (ca. 1879–1974) died Samuel Goldwyn in Los Angeles, having emigrated from England in 1899. He produced The Squaw Man in 1914, directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and his production company became the foundation for Paramount Pictures, eventually built by Adolph Zukor. In 1916, he joined forces with the Selwyn brothers and cofounded the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation. In 1924, his company merged with Louis B. Mayer and Metro Pictures to become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Although his “Leo the Lion” trademark endured, Goldwyn was ousted and created an independent film company, which produced such classics as Wuthering Heights (1939), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Guys and Dolls (1955), and Porgy and Bess (1959).

Marcus Loew Marcus Loew (1870–1927) ran a nickelodeon theater in the earliest days of movies, expanding his holdings over the next several years to create Loew’s, a movie chain of luxurious theaters, and getting involved in making movies as well. In the 1920s, he merged his Metro Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn’s Goldwyn Picture Corporation, and Mayer Pictures, creating Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Pictures. Unlike the other moguls, he preferred New York, his birthplace, and did not move to Hollywood.

Louis B. Mayer In 1907, Louis Burt Mayer (1885–1957), perhaps the most famous and feared movie mogul, renovated a rundown movie theater in Boston that he parlayed into the largest chain in New England. In 1917, he funded Louis B. Mayer Pictures with great profits from his showing of Birth of a Nation. He became vice president of MGM in the 1920s and is credited with creating the Hollywood studio star system. In 1927, Mayer teamed with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. to form the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Could a group of new digital filmmakers revolutionize the industry and dominate movie production and distribution like the early Hollywood movie moguls? Why or why not?

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Hollywood Star System For the first several years, actors’ and actresses’ names did not even appear in the movie credits. Then shrewd studio heads cultivated fan interest, creating personas for popular stars, complete with false histories to market them better, a practice that continues today to some degree. Paramount Pictures (1912), Columbia Pictures (1920), Metro-GoldwynMayer (1924), Warner Brothers (1923), and 20th Century Fox (1935) all held long-term contracts with star directors and actors. During this era, stars were unable to seek their own contracts for individual films but could be loaned to another studio, often in exchange for other stars. They were also expected to be highly productive, sometimes starring in five or six films a year. Warner Brothers’ Humphrey Bogart starred in forty films between 1934 and 1943. Casablanca was just one of four he made in 1943. Many films of this era, including Casablanca, were not great works of cinematic art but popular entertainment for studio profit. People often saw these films for the stars they had come to know and for the characters they often represented. Gary Cooper, star of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and Meet John Doe (1941), was known as a tall, awkward, humble man of integrity—the quintessential American, the strong, silent Citizen Kane has been hailed as one of the greatest films of all time. type. Jimmy Stewart played the same kind of person, immortalized in Frank Capra’s holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life (1945). The studio star system and long-term actor contracts ended in the late 1940s with the confluence of several forces. First, in 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court divested studios of their theater empires because of monopolistic practices revealed in United States v. Paramount Pictures. Independent films, those produced outside   independent films the major studios, could then be shown in theaters and became financially viable. Films made by production Independent producers were also able to rent large studios on a per-project basis companies separate from the main Hollywood studios. and benefit from their extensive distribution networks while the studios welcomed the additional income. Studios productions still had an advantage, however. Booking their films in blocks made it cheaper for a theater to show several popular studio films than to take a chance on a single independent film. Second, the rise of television reduced theater audiences, especially for secondor third-run films. Although studio heads once threatened to blacklist any actor who moved to television, this ban was soon lifted as big names such as Bob Hope and Lucille Ball gave the new medium star power. Conversely, actors like Clint Eastwood who became popular on TV transitioned successfully to film. Today, many actors move from popular shows such as Saturday Night Live or situation comedies to movies.

THE DIRECTOR AS AUTEUR Following WWII, French film critic André Bazin introduced the notion of the filmmaker as author, or auteur. Although some early filmmakers, such as D. W. ­Griffith and Sergei Eisenstein, could be seen as auteurs, in the intervening years,

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  auteur Director as storyteller.

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filmmaking in the United States became a more collaborative, corporate enterprise—a trend promoted by Hollywood’s studio system. The 1950s French New Wave directors were probably the most influential auteurs. Important directors included Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, 1959), Louis Malle (Zazie dans le métro, 1960), and François Truffaut (The 400 Blows, 1959). These ­directors used camera techniques that were inno­ vative for their day, such as the now-common handheld cameras and freeze frames. One of the most influential international film auteurs was Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, some of whose early films were remade by others as Japanese director Akira Kurosawa had a film career over fifty years and influenced Westerns. Seven Samurai (1954) became The Magsuch filmmakers as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Francis Ford Coppola. nificent Seven (1960) starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen; and in 1964, Sergio Leone remade Yojimbo (1961) as A Fistful of Dollars, starring Clint Eastwood. Two characters in the classic The Hidden Fortress (1958) are said to be the models on which director George Lucas, a great admirer of Kurosawa and Japanese cinema, based C-3PO and R2-D2 in Star Wars (1977). Kurosawa also borrowed from the West for Throne of Blood (1957) and Ran (1985), based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and King Lear, respectively. Important American filmmakers have also contributed to the auteur movement. Among them are Blake Edwards, who directed Days of Wine and Roses (1962), and Stanley Kubrick, who directed 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Full Metal Jacket (1987), and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Other notable contemporary American film auteurs are Martin Scorsese, whose films include Taxi Driver (1976), The King of Comedy (1983), and The Age of Innocence (1993); David Lynch, who made Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986), and Wild at Heart (1990); and Spike Lee, who often makes movies that deal with race relations or controversial issues (Do the Right Thing, 1988), depictions of historical people and events (Miracle at St. Anna, 2008), and documentaries (When the Levee Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, 2006).


Spike Lee often makes films that tackle controversial or sensitive topics related to race, discrimination, and society.

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Modern cinema comprises a variety of types, or genres. One basic distinction is between nonfiction, or documentaries, and fiction, by far the dominant type. Rarely shown in American multiplex cinemas, documentaries, if released theatrically at all, are shown in mostly urban art-house theaters to limited audiences. Notable exceptions have been the documentaries of Michael Moore, who created Bowling for Columbine (2002), Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), and Sicko (2007), all of which had theatrical releases. Among the most familiar and popular genres of fiction film are action/adventure, comedy, romance, science fiction, suspense, historical, horror, Western, fantasy, musical, biography, and drama. In many cases, there are subgenres, such as crime drama, and some films cut across two or more genres, such as romantic comedy. Technology has always influenced filmmaking and film genres from the days when short reels allowed films of only five minutes or less, which hampered the

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creation of complex stories, to the development of synchronized sound, which made the cameras stationary and changed movies from action- to speaking-oriented styles. Today, digital technologies allow filmmakers to design and populate entire realistic worlds. George Lucas, of Star Wars fame, was at the forefront of spectacular computer-generated special effects, although critics charge these were sometimes at the expense of storytelling and character development. Digital technology has allowed for more realistic animation, and studios such as Pixar are using the less labor-intensive new technology to produce animated feature films—although it is still questionable how much money is saved after the costs for high-end computer systems to generate special effects are factored in. James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), which he waited for more than ten years to make until the technology could match his vision of the film, cost over $300 million. As the first film to gross over $2 billion worldwide, the heavy investment more than paid off. Such was not the case for the effects-heavy Green Lantern (2011), which cost $200 million to make and may have topped out at only $260 million in worldwide ticket sales. New technologies also affect what movies are popular. High-tech gadgetry in our daily lives and today’s fast-paced media environment have parallels in many recent science fiction and technology-oriented movies. Slower-paced, characterdriven movies based on historical events appeal less to younger audiences. Plots can also be interpreted differently because of changes in technology. A suspense movie made in the 1980s in which tension is created by the main character’s difficulties in finding a public telephone would likely make young viewers today wonder why the character doesn’t simply use her or his cell phone or borrow someone else’s. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Technological limitations kept film reels short, so only a few minutes of footage could be shown at a time. In what ways could current technological limitations hamper our ability to tell stories through the Internet? How could storytelling be enriched?


  genres Topical categories.

Documentary maker Ken Burns has a special effect, the Ken Burns Effect, named after his technique of panning and zooming from a still image; it is built into most digital video-editing systems, including iMovie, Openshot, and Final Cut Pro. CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: What do you think of filmmakers using the Ken Burns Effect? Is it effective, or does it show a lack of originality?

OTHER ENTERTAINMENT SOURCES FOR MOVIES Movies have always relied heavily on other media as sources for stories. Some of  the earliest films were nothing more than filmed stage plays, including ­Shakespearean dramas. Others were based on popular novels or stories, as are many movies today. Successful original movies would sometimes inspire a TV series, such as M*A*S*H (1970), itself based on a novel; the subsequent television series of the same name ran from 1972 to 1983. Although it still occasionally occurs, such as with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, today movies are equally likely to derive their inspiration from popular TV series, video games, cartoons, and even the Web. Although The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Dark Knight (2008) were hugely successful, many movies created from TV, comics, or video games have been less so. The past several years have seen a spate of movies based on popular television sitcoms, cartoons, and comic book characters: two Addams Family films (1991, 1998), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), two Brady Bunch movies (1995, 1996), two Scooby-Doo movies (2002, 2004), and movies based on superheroes—the

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The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is one of the few examples of successful movies that were taken from video games.

Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, and several Batman releases. The venerable Superman even made a return appearance in Man of Steel (2013). Undercover Brother (2002), a parody of blaxploitation films of the 1970s, was one of the first movies derived from an animated Web series on a site called Urban Entertainment. A bidding war started among studios for the movie rights—showing how studios are mining the Web for story ideas. The Web also allows studios to gauge public interest through viral marketing efforts. Studios have tried to cash in on the popularity of some video games and characters such as Super Mario Bros., Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil. Super Mario Brothers (1993) did poorly at the box office, but Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), although critically panned, did well enough to spawn a sequel in 2003.

DVDS AND STREAMING Lower production costs for videotape created new opportunities for filmmakers who would not otherwise make feature films. Yet the movie industry strongly resisted the introduction of consumer videocassette recorder models in the 1970s, even suing VCR manufacturer Sony for encouraging illegal copying, copyright infringement that they claimed would ruin the movie business. This of course did not happen; and in fact, video (and now DVD) sales and rentals are double the revenue of box office receipts. Two changes have radically altered the video market. First is the move from videotapes to DVDs, which provide more portability, better video and audio quality, and extra features unmatched on videotapes. Digital video also allowed lowbudget directors to shoot professional-quality footage at a fraction of actual film cost. Editing and other postproduction work can also be done on computers or dedicated editing workstations. In only a few years, videotapes were replaced by DVDs, which in turn are slowly being replaced by the Blu-ray format, which offers even better sound, picture quality, and storage. How people rent or buy video has also changed. Netflix, created in 1997, has transformed the video rental business by letting consumers use their broadband connection to stream movies and other video content on demand. The established video-rental model had involved going to a store, choosing a movie, and returning it within twenty-four or forty-eight hours to avoid late fees. DVD-rental kiosks, such as Redbox, have also made DVD rentals easier and more convenient; but by 2014, the DVD rental business itself had become obsolete. Without expensive store rentals and other overhead costs, Netflix can maintain a larger, more diverse inventory. By November 2014, Netflix had 50 million subscribers worldwide paying about $8 a month for unlimited viewing of movies and other video content and about $13 a month for ultra-high-definition video.7 Meanwhile, Blockbuster, king of video rentals in the 1990s, filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Many industry experts believe that DVDs will eventually go the way of videotapes because of the popularity of subscription streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus. These services forego any physical product, as consumers simply stream movies to their devices and watch them. The trend can be seen clearly when looking at DVD sales versus streaming revenues in 2012. DVD sales still accounted for most of the revenues, $8.5 billion,

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but dropped 5.5 percent compared to the year before; whereas subscription strea­ ming revenues rose to $2.3 billion from $1.6 billion.8 By 2013, Netflix alone had generated $4.7 billion in annual revenues in the United States from its s­ ubscription services. Much of the movie industry is not happy with the trend toward subscription streaming services, partly because they fear digital piracy and partly because profit margins are much higher on DVD and Blu-ray sales than digital streaming.

Movie Industry Today Today’s motion picture industry contrasts significantly with the vertically integrated entertainment companies that owned not only the means of production but also the distribution system (i.e., the movie theaters). The Supreme Court’s antitrust decision of 1948 forced studios to sell their theaters, and today much more power rests with the artists making the films, especially directors and highpaid actors and actresses. The major studios have adapted to changing conditions and still frequently decide which movies to make and promote. Given the high costs, including several million dollars spent in marketing and specialized technical knowledge, it still requires large organizations like the movie studios to bring everything together. Like other media industries, major studios are part of much larger media conglomerates. (See Table 5-1.) The major studios make movies under a variety of subsidiary production companies, some of which are quite large in their own right. Although lacking vertical integration, they still benefit from sister companies. For example, a Paramount picture may appear on CBS news (both owned by Viacom), or a Pixar picture on ABC news (both owned by Disney), or a 20th Century Fox picture on Fox News (both owned by 21st Century Fox). A motion picture costs on average over $70 million, although movies often top $100 million, especially with special effects or big Hollywood stars. Marketing costs can add another $30 million to $50 million. Production, the largest single expense category, is usually about 25 percent of the total budget, including set construction, filming on location, film copies for distribution, and crew salaries. Almost all workers, from actors to screenwriters to cinematographers to carpenters, belong to unions that have standard salary rates and rules. A filmmaker typically approaches a movie studio with a script, which may be original but is often adapted by a screenwriter from a novel or real-life story. A studio will often demand changes, sometimes major revisions, before agreeing to bankroll and distribute a movie. Creative differences may arise that can kill projects before they start or force filmmakers to seek support from other major or independent studios. The movie Rain Man (1988), starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, was almost never made because studio executives demanded an actionpacked chase scene involving Hoffman’s autistic character. Once a project has finally been approved and the actors’ contracts and schedules agreed on, shooting can begin. This can take several weeks or even months, depending on schedules and other issues. After shooting, the filmmaker is still looking at several more months of postproduction work and editing hours and hours of footage into movie length. This too can produce creative differences, as studio executives may demand a happier or otherwise different ending based on early audience feedback. Deleting or even reshooting or shooting entirely new

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Netflix is flexing its international streaming distribution muscle as illustrated by the global company’s 2014 original series Marco Polo, budgeting $90 million for production of the first season of 10 episodes.

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  Ownership Among Major and Subsidiary Film Studios

table 5-1

Major Film Studio

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Subsidiary Film Studio

Subsidiary Film Studio

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Kathleen Kennedy

With a career spanning more than three decades as producer of more than 60 major films distinguished by over 120 Academy Award nominations, Kathleen Kennedy advanced through the celluloid ceiling with digital force. As Sally Field told the CinemaCon crowd in April 2013 when presenting Kennedy with the Pioneer of the Year Award, “In an industry that is not and has not been female friendly, . . . Kathy has beaten those odds the only way a woman can—by being so much better than most everyone else.”9 This is high praise—wholly supported by an extensive, diverse, and distinguished filmography that includes Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Color

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Purple (1985), Back to the Future (1985), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Jurassic Park (1993), Schindler’s List (1993), Twister (1996), The Sixth Sense (1999), Persepolis (2007), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), War Horse (2011), Lincoln (2012), and Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens (2015). As of 2014, Kennedy’s films have grossed over $11 billion worldwide.10 One of Hollywood’s most successful producers, male or female, Kennedy still flies under the radar with remarkable grace and characteristic modesty. She attributes her success in part to luck and good timing; others point to her astute judgment, formidable work ethic, empathy with cast and crew, and diplomacy when liaising between directors and studios. Kathleen grew up in Redding, California, and graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in film. Her identical twin, Connie, is an executive producer at Profile Studios, a virtual production company for film and games that specializes in interactive storytelling. Her younger sister, Dana, is also a media professional, an Emmy-winning broadcast journalist, former news anchor, and talk show host. Kennedy became Steven Spielberg’s assistant on Raiders of the Lost Ark, after which she, her husband Frank Marshall, and Spielberg formed Amblin Entertainment in 1982. Ten years later, Kennedy and Marshall created their own production company. In 2012, George Lucas, with whom she had also collaborated over the years, selected her to become president of Lucasfilm. Kennedy is also a member of the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Having closely observed and embraced dramatic technological change in her stellar career, she maintains that the essence of great film—great storytelling—remains the same while the tool chest has expanded. “We’ve talked a great deal about the role that filmmaking technology has played in creating the Star Wars saga,” says Kennedy. “We're incredibly excited to find ways to combine state-of-the-art visual effects with the practical approaches that were instrumental in making the original films so iconic; we plan to use everything in the toolbox to continue the Star Wars story.”11

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scenes may be required. The Ridley Scott classic Blade Runner (1982) is one of the most famous cases in which the studio required a reworking of the director’s ending to make it more upbeat. Of course, several versions were later released, including a “director’s cut” that more closely adhered to Scott’s vision. Musical scores, dubbing, and voice-overs are also added during postproduction. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Discuss new ways movie theaters might be able to use their large screens and space to show digital film not only from big-name moviemakers but from local artists as well. How might this affect the local movie theater and its role in the community?

Marketing and Distribution for Movies Marketing and distribution, often key to a movie’s success, are quite expensive. A movie that debuts in one thousand theaters nationwide, however well attended, simply will not earn as much as one that fills half the seats in over three thousand theaters. Major studios can still distribute a movie more widely than independent film companies can. The Internet, however, has proven a valuable means of distribution due to its low cost and its potential to build audiences over time and space. A growing number of websites provide an extensive selection of independent and short films online. The main channel for marketing movies is TV advertising. Heavy advertising occurs two weeks before release because it is nearly impossible for a movie to become popular after poor attendance following release. Much research, effort, and expense go into creating appealing movie trailers and packaging to reach the right target audience. Although studios advertise in other outlets, such as newspapers, radio, and billboards, almost 60 percent of spending is on network- and cable-television adverOscar-nominated 9/11 picture Zero Dark Thirty stirred tising. For some movies, such as Paranormal Activity, the Web and wordup controversy for Sony Pictures when victims’ of-mouth are important, but these and social media are still a small but families complained that the movie’s producers had growing part in the overall marketing mix. not obtained their permission to use audio recordings, although in the public domain, of actual Movies have a regular pattern of exhibition “windows,” places where victims of the World Trade Center disaster. CRITICAL they are shown that help increase revenues. When studios were at their THINKING QUESTIONS: Although these voice strongest, they could control theatrical releases at what were deemed recordings are in the public domain, do you think it is “first-run” theaters and then, after appeal faded there, second-run theatethical for a commercial movie to use them without obtaining permission of the families of the victims or ers. Movie studios determined which theaters were first-run and secondpaying them royalties? Why or why not? run and had agreements that assured theaters of exclusive showing privileges within a certain geographic area for a certain amount of time. The usual exhibition windows for movies start with domestic theatrical release, then proceed to international release, video-on-demand (VOD), pay cable channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.), network or cable TV, and then syndicated TV. Each window has a specified time, and the windows generally do not overlap. Recently, however, likely blockbusters have been released simultaneously in the United States and select countries worldwide. Successful movies may get released to video earlier than usual to take advantage of theatrical residual popularity; or, if deemed not worthy of theatrical release, it gets the “straight to video” label and heads directly to DVD or on-demand distribution. VOD will probably become first

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after theatrical release, even though today it often appears simultaneously with the video release.12

Movie-Industry Business Model A seemingly simple business model—get as many people as possible to pay to watch a movie—becomes more complicated when considering the varied ways to watch movies today other than in the theater and how important box office popularity is to attracting viewers in later exhibition windows. Increasing the complexity are the other means by which studios can generate revenue, including licensing deals, product placement, and promotional tie-ins. The independent film Napoleon Dynamite (2004), for example, cost $400,000 and grossed $46 million worldwide. Because movies are so expensive to make and market, however, most lose money. High cost and high risk mean Hollywood studios seek safety in blockbusters, with their usual spate of sequels and generally formulaic stories and characters. Audiences have been declining steadily over the past several years even as U.S. box office revenues have continued to rise, thanks to increasing ticket prices of about 5 percent a year and 3-D movies, which can charge about $3 more than non3-D.13 In 2013, gross U.S. box office revenues were at an all-time high at $10.92 billion, even though 2013’s overall audience of 1.36 billion was down substantially from 2002’s record 1.6 billion, when total box office receipts were less than $10 billion.14 U.S. box office revenues are not nearly as important from a financial standpoint as they used to be because international sales are often greater today. DVD rentals and sales are usually the biggest money generator for movies, long since surpassing box office revenues. Sales have dropped in recent years, though, as consumers rent rather than buy movies, increasingly through VOD services such as Netflix or cable operators. Licensing deals can also generate revenue. With popular movies such as the Toy Story series, the studio receives royalties for licensing the rights to make toys, blankets, pajamas, and other goods based on the characters. Yet more caution has been exercised in recent years because these deals turn out poorly if a movie does not succeed at the box office. Promotional tie-ins, such as those with fast-food chains, can generate revenue as they generate interest in the movie. Product placement, using or showing real-life products in a movie, can also create revenue, although the overall amount is small compared to box office sales or video rentals.

Outlook for the Movie Industry

Despite competition from a number of other forms of entertainment, movies continue to be highly popular. Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the most popular films of 2014, grossed over $333 million domestically.

  product placement A form of advertising in which brand-name goods or services are placed prominently within movie content that is otherwise devoid of advertising, demonstrating the convergence of programming with advertising content.

Digitization has had profound effects on the movie industry, some of which are already being seen in the industry itself and in theaters. Amazing special effects using digital technology can far surpass previous efforts. As computer power increases, computer-artist and programmer skills improve, rendering surfaces like snow, skin, and fur more realistically. Movie studios also save through digital-film distribution. It cost up to $2,000 to produce, duplicate, and ship one forty-pound celluloid film print to a movie

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The Croods, a DreamWorks animation released in 2013, is created from 250 billion pixels, making it one of the highest-resolution movies ever.

theater, and most studios shipped prints to three thousand theaters nationwide if they hoped for a blockbuster. That means $6 million just in distribution costs for a major film.15 A digital film, on the other hand, is simply sent over satellite or through broadband to a movie theater. In addition, endless perfect copies can be made, just as with other digital media, eliminating the need to receive even more prints when film breaks or loses its quality after repeated showings. One obstacle to the movie industry’s adoption of digital distribution, despite potential savings, has been concerns over piracy. The studios have watched the music industry’s battles with file-swapping services such as Napster and realize that they are prime targets for similar practices. Nevertheless, the year 2013 seemingly marked the end of celluloid-film distribution to theaters in major markets.16 Some industry experts estimate that digital distribution saves movie studios $600 to $800 million per year. By 2015, more than 80 percent of theaters around the world are expected to receive movies digitally via satellite.17 Assuming that the movie industry does eventually adopt digital technology at all levels of production, the moviegoer will likely see great improvement in picture quality (including 3-D) and sound as well as movie availability. More independent films may show in major theaters because the theaters and studios will not be banking on the same large audiences to break even because production and distribution costs will be lower.

Television According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, children between eight and eighteen spend more time (6.5 hours a day on average) in front of some kind of screen—TV, computer, cell phone—than engaged in any other activity except sleeping. And more time is devoted to television than to any other medium. The average viewer today who lives to be seventy-five will have spent eleven years watching TV. Many critics think television is mindless entertainment that does nothing for social skills and physical fitness. Others point to quality content, educational television, news, and cultural programming. Today’s interactive television can even get the couch potato off the couch and physically active.

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3-D Movies: What Will Be the Impact? Movie studios have long been promoting 3-D movies as the Next Big Thing, but this time several noted directors are also cheerleaders, including Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and James Cameron, all of whom have released 3-D movies. Some proponents even claim that 3-D will revolutionize cinema in the same way that sound revolutionized the early film era. Many mainstream movies are now released both in conventional format and in 3-D. In 2014, blockbuster 3-D films such as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Guardians of the Galaxy offered high-­quality immersive viewing experiences. Among the most commercially successful 3-D movies of 2014 was Godzilla, which had box office receipts of $200 million in the United States. With increasingly lucrative ticket prices, it’s not surprising that moviemakers are turning increasingly to the 3-D format. Dozens more 3-D formatted movies are scheduled for 2015 production. Blu-ray DVDs for home viewing are also available for a vast array of films. Titles in 2014 include Gravity, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Exodus: Gods and Kings, all in 3-D. 3-D movies still require special glasses. Viewing quality, however, has improved dramatically in recent years, and these movies have become so important that writers now adapt scripts to incorporate 3-D effects. “You build sequences differently when you know things have to pop out and jump at you,” says Kieran Mulroney, a script writer for Warner Bros.’ Sherlock Holmes sequel, as reported in the Los Angeles Times.18 The next generation of 3-D movies will likely be even more popular because viewers may no longer need special

glasses to enjoy special effects (which also incorporate surround sound). Like previous technological advances, the spread of 3-D will probably change the movie experience in unforeseen ways. Beyond 3-D is 4-D, movies and theaters that incorporate physical or tactile experiences and other

sensory components in the storytelling. For instance, the 4-D theater at the Bronx Zoo in New York City in 2014 showed moviegoers Ice Age 4-D. It not only featured 3-D video but put viewers in seats that moved as part of the story, simulating the movement of an earthquake; and in dramatic fashion, viewers were sprayed actual mist from a sneezing dinosaur, much to the delight of the author’s 9-year-old nephew.

Terrestrial, or over-the-air broadcast TV, has traditionally been the norm, but today more than two-thirds of homes get TV via cable or satellite. Moreover, most households watch DVDs or VOD via television. Consumer recording devices for television were an important development, allowing the audience to time shift, that is, watch a program any time after the original broadcast rather than be held hostage by a broadcaster’s scheduling. Time shifting helped tilt the balance of power toward the audience in choosing media content—a trend that will continue as TV switches to a digital format. As with radio, digital media will complicate the very definition of television, especially as TVs take on more interactive programming and converge with computers and mobile devices. A Slingbox permits viewers to place shift, that is, access video via the Internet originally delivered digitally to the home.

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  time shift Recording of an audio or video event for later listening or viewing.

  place shift Viewing TV from anywhere using the Internet to access video originally delivered digitally to the home (or another location).

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Via a Slingbox, a viewer can use the Internet from anywhere in the world to place shift her or his television viewing.

The widespread use and content range of television help it serve its entertainment, surveillance, correlation, and cultural transmission functions. More U.S. households have televisions than telephones—about 97 percent have at least one TV—and it is the most influential mass-communication medium. More Americans get their news from television than from any other source, making its surveillance function preeminent. More Americans get their entertainment from television than from any other mass medium as well. Entertainment programming plays an important role in the cultural transmission of new trends and social norms. Only one development has caused a drop in TV viewership—the Internet. Despite this, TV is still number one in most populations’ media use. However, a 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that young people increasingly watch TV content that is not live, including DVDs, VOD, and television programming on computers or mobile devices. Television became a mass medium providing a common set of experiences much faster than film, music, and radio, displacing radio, which had supplanted national magazines. Although more channels and audience fragmentation may reduce this effect, television continues to shape attitudes on a variety of social and cultural issues.

History of Television   cathode-ray tube (CRT) Device in older televisions and computers using electron beams to transmit images to the screen.

Most TV sets and computer displays traditionally used a cathode-ray tube (CRT), conceived in 1859 by German mathematician and physicist Julius Plücker. British chemist William Crookes built the first functional CRT in 1878. In 1873, British telegrapher Louis May discovered that selenium bars exposed to light conduct electricity. Some consider this the basis of photoconductivity, a critical foundation for the electronic transmission of visual and audio information. In 1881, British inventor Shelford Bidwell transmitted silhouettes using selenium in his “scanning phototelegraph,” an electrical method that contributed to the development of modern television.

SEEING THE LIGHT: THE FIRST TELEVISION SYSTEMS In 1884, German inventor Paul Nipkow developed a concept for mechanical television that used a rotating disk. In 1923, Scottish inventor John Logie Baird created Baird Television, the first mechanically scanned television device to profit from sending pictures through the air. Some consider Baird’s thirty-line TV the first high-definition TV for its many more lines of resolution and finer visual detail. In 1927, Philo T. Farnsworth transmitted the image of a dollar sign across his San Francisco apartment using his scanning-beam and synchronization-pulse technologies. This was the first electronic wireless transmission of an image, the initial step toward electronic television. His first “broadcast” transmitted images from a Jack Dempsey/Gene Tunney fight and scenes of Mary Pickford combing her hair (from Taming of the Shrew).

Philo T. Farnsworth transmitted the first wireless electronic image, the first step toward electronic television.

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MODERN TELEVISION TAKES SHAPE Much better image resolution was needed for television to advance. The CRT screen, with its greater number of scanned lines, afforded a better picture. In 1939,

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David Sarnoff demonstrated 441-line TV technology at the New York World’s Fair that drew national and international attention. That same year, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) began regularly scheduled broadcasts to only four hundred sets in the New York area, development interrupted by the beginning of World War II. There were just seven thousand receiving sets and only nine stations in the United States in early 1946. By 1949, ninety-eight stations existed in fiftyeight markets. In 1950, 3.88 million households had television, 9 percent of the total 43 million. By 1948, there were four commercial television networks: NBC, CBS, ABC, and DuMont (this last network failed in 1955). By the end of 1955, TV households numbered 30.7 million, 64.5 percent of U.S. households; and U.S. advertisers were spending more than $300 million on TV time. By 1960, 45.7 million U.S. households (87.1 percent) had at least one television set. Color television broadcasting debuted in 1951 with a live CBS telecast from Grand Central Station in New York. Unfortunately, only twenty-five receivers could accommodate the technology, while the 12 million existing black-and-white sets displayed a blank screen. In 1953, color broadcasting launched in the United States when the FCC approved a modified version of an RCA system compatible with existing screens. Color television was only the next step in the ceaseless effort to present sharper and better pictures.

PROGRAMMING AND GENRE INFLUENCES Much early TV programming came directly from radio, where talented actors and comedians such as Jack Benny adapted their routines for television. The influence of stage and film also lent much to early television. Dramas sponsored by Hallmark began in 1948, migrating among CBS, NBC, and ABC for over sixty years before running on Hallmark’s own channel. Westerns from both radio and film were particularly popular, and although Hollywood studios initially resisted, bringing film to television provided yet another revenue source. Considerable original programming occurred in the forms of hosted children’s shows, variety shows, situation comedies, sports, and news talk shows. From this diversity emerged a more formal organizational division of programming: entertainment, sports, and news. The 1950s, often referred to as the golden age of television, featured many critically acclaimed commercial successes. An entire postwar generation grew up with the children’s show Howdy Doody; the first filmed TV sitcom, I Love Lucy; the radio carryover classic Western Gunsmoke; Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners; Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone; and The Tonight Show, among so many others. The Ed ­Sullivan Show, debuting in 1948 as Toast of the Town, established the variety format and often attracted half of all viewing households. In 1964, 73 million viewers nationwide tuned in to see the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show helped establish the variety show format and introduced that show. many new artists to the American public.

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Pushing the Programming Envelope By the 1970s, significant program developments were afoot. Standard one-­ dimensional genres were infused with more complex, realistic characters and story lines. In 1977, ABC launched its twenty-six-hour miniseries Roots, based on the novel by Alex Haley, the final episode of which remains the third-­mostwatched TV program in history. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) began broadcasting in 1970, inheriting programs from National Educational Television, a noncommercial network founded in 1954. Most famous among these was Sesame Street, arguably the most influential TV program for children, which has run continuously since 1969. Operating as a not-for-profit corporation owned by member stations, PBS has often been the home for commercially unviable programming in the arts and sciences, consistently winning more television awards for high quality than commercial television and cable networks combined. Monday Night Football, started in 1970, became a cultural mainstay and led to more sporting events broadcast outside of the traditional weekend slot, producing greater revenue opportunities for sports franchises. Some sports, such as basketball, even changed their rules to promote a faster-paced and more exciting game. All in the Family, the highest-rated program of the 1970s, introduced controversy into the situation comedy genre with its bigoted character, Archie Bunker. Its success encouraged others to explore many contemporary social and civil rights issues, although many more simply repackaged popular genres such as police dramas, mysteries, and science fiction. In 1980, producer Stephen Bochco introduced a new genre of gritty police drama on NBC. Hill Street Blues featured several prominent characters, all with various story lines, and a realistic, often-chaotic quality that added dramatic elements of a soap opera. He continued to develop the genre in the 1990s with ABC’s popular NYPD Blue.

Cable Comes of Age

MTV, or Music Television, became such a part of youth culture after it debuted that teens who were once labeled “Generation X” were also called the “MTV Generation.”

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Music Television, or MTV, debuted in 1981 as a cable channel with its first music video “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The title proved prophetic. Having dramatically changed music promotion, MTV continued to introduce innovative, although not always culture-enhancing, programs such as The Real World, Jackass, The Osbournes, and MTV’s most-viewed series ever, Jersey Shore. MTV exemplified a sea change in television programming from one-size-fits-all on the networks to a fragmented and specialized approach on cable or satellite channels devoted exclusively to travel, sports, and even specific sports such as golf or soccer, movie classics, television classics, cartoons, science, science fiction, home improvement, crime, animals, law, and history. Several cable channels began to develop their own dramatic programming, occasionally attracting more viewers than many network shows. Despite being in only about 28 million homes, a third of those with network television and nonpremium cable channels, the fourth-season premiere of HBO’s hit mob series The Sopranos on September 15, 2002, attracted 13.4 million viewers, the most-watched show in its history. HBO had already been making original feature films; but original, critically acclaimed series such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Big Love, Boardwalk Empire, and Game of Thrones are making the networks finally take notice of cable. The FX channel, also generating buzz with cutting-edge programming, attracted 5 million viewers for the premiere episode of its police drama The Shield.

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Reflecting the growing Latin American population in the United States, in the 1980s the Reliance Capital Group launched the Spanish-language network Telemundo Group. Cable and satellite television support channels that target ethnic groups while also offering access to some programming from their home countries. Today, usually for an additional monthly fee, many subscribers can get cable channels in Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Tagalog, and Arabic, among other languages. Critics of network television programming say the networks have only themselves to blame for large-scale defections to cable channels, in particular a riskaverse corporate culture that encourages copying popular programming rather than innovating. Cable TV programming can be more innovative and edgy because it is unfettered by FCC content restrictions on network profanity or partial nudity. Another factor that works against networks is their need to attract as large an audience as possible to charge higher rates for commercials, something that subscriber-based channels such as HBO do not have to consider.

Filling the Days A staple of early television was the soap opera, so named because, first on radio and then on television, its principal advertising was for household products aimed at the daytime serial’s primary audience, homemakers. Indeed, Proctor & Gamble produced both soap and soap operas, notably Guiding Light, the longest-running TV soap at nearly sixteen thousands episodes between 1952 and 2009; As the World Turns (1956–2010); and Another World (1964–1999). One by one, the soaps have died as more women entered the workforce and audiences shrank. Soaps have lost a quarter of their audience since the 1980s. No new English-language soaps have been introduced since the 1990s. Many fans wax nostalgic over the loss of favorite soaps, pointing out that they set important new standards for daytime television by discussing topics like abortion and illegitimate pregnancy. Not all are gone. Days of Our Lives and General Hospital remain daytime fare. Full-length episodes of Guiding Light are still available at CBS’s website. Telenovelas, Spanish-language soaps with passionate and sometimes-violent tales, are still popular on Spanish-language TV, although they typically run only for a few months or years by design. Soap operas introduced some of today’s biggest movie and television stars including Morgan Freeman, Kelsey Grammar, Tommy Lee Jones, James Franco, Amanda Seyfried, and Brad Pitt. Exceedingly popular in commercial television’s first full decade was the game or quiz show, a format that had been successful in radio as well. By the end of the 1958 TV season, there were twenty-two network quiz shows, one of every five shows. As it happened, many were rigged; and after a public scandal and subsequent congressional investigation involving the popular Twenty-One, new rules for regulating game shows emerged. An even cheaper format, the talk show, has largely replaced daytime game shows. Dr. Phil, Jerry Springer, Rachael Ray, and The View, for example, have assumed much of the role that soaps used to play in bringing controversial issues to the public arena.

Filling the Nights The popularity of the prime-time game show was revived when ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire became a ratings leader after its debut in 1999. Like Survivor, it

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Born in Colombia, Sofia Vergara stars on one of the most popular shows on American television, Modern Family, and is the highest paid actor on television.

was a copy of a European show, reversing a long trend of ­European television’s emulating successful American game shows. Although its success was relatively short lived, lasting only three years, the show helped spawn a number of other prime-time game shows. Despite the rapid rise and fall of some of these, others that air before prime time have enjoyed greater longevity, such as Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Prime-time network programming is now dominated by dramatic series, reality shows, and situation comedies, with occasional made-for-TV movies or broadcasts of popular movies that have already appeared in theaters. The latter have become less important, however, as many viewers now choose to see uncut movies without commercial interruptions on DVD, cable, or satellite.

Sports Some of the biggest television events involve sports. The Super Bowl, for example, annually draws one of U.S. television’s largest audiences. Every four years, the World Cup, the quadrennial soccer tournament, draws large worldwide television audiences. Television commentator Les Brown explains how sports constitute a near-perfect program form for television, “at once topical and entertaining, performed live and suspensefully without a script, peopled with heroes and villains, full of action and human interest and laced with pageantry and ritual.”19 Sports provide an ongoing venue for technical experimentation. Instant replay debuted in the 1963 Army–Navy football game, and slow motion replay came shortly thereafter. Not only do these now-standard techniques enhance viewing, they have become tools to assist officiating in certain sports, although not without occasional controversy. The rise in popularity of poker-tournament shows has been attributed in part to miniature cameras that allow viewers to see what hands players are holding as they place their bets. Although sports events still populate the major networks, Disney’s ESPN has become the dominant sports channel, drawing an industry-high $6 billion in annual subscriber fees. Yet it faces growing competition, including Al Jazeera’s two twenty-four-hour sports channels (focused on soccer) and Rupert Murdoch’s newly launched Fox Sports, a ­ twenty-four-hour sports channel featuring NASCAR races, major league baseball and football games, soccer, and more. Media play a role in determining what types of sports get promoted (and thus which ones get lucrative corporate sponsorships). The popularity of extreme sports and types of fighting besides boxing, such as mixed martial arts, has risen. Generally, slow-paced or highly individualistic sports fare less well than Soccer is one of the most widely watched sports worldwide.

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faster-paced events or exciting team sports. One notable exception is golf, likely due to its upscale demographic attractive to advertisers. Professional wrestling blends sports and entertainment. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) combines the physical showmanship that has long defined professional wrestling with ample doses of sexuality and character-driven story lines—complete with crooked bad guys who cheat popular wrestlers of their rightful titles.

Reality Shows It may be surprising to learn that reality shows have roots in the earliest days of television. Game shows like Truth or Consequences, whose contestants performed wacky stunts for prizes, or Alan Funt’s Candid Camera, a classic prank show, were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1980s, shows like COPS and America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV) debuted, and they continue to air today. AFV is a precursor to the kind of user-generated content (UGC) often uploaded to YouTube   user-generated content (UGC) or other video websites. Reality shows became much more popular beginning in 2000 after Big Brother Content created by the general and Survivor were both hits in the United States. Today, American Idol—which can public for distribution by digital media. trace its lineage (including home audience voting by phone) directly back to popular talent-search shows of the 1940s, such as Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts—­ remains a top-rated show and has launched singing careers for several of its finalists and winners. Reality shows are a versatile genre. Home improvement channels have capitalized on the format with shows like House Hunters and Property Virgins, and lifestyle channels have had success with shows such as Extreme Makeover and The Biggest Loser. Practically any situation, real or fantasized, can be adapted to this format, and viewers enjoy watching both “regular” people and celebrities in various challenging situations. Reality television is profitable for television networks because production costs are much lower than that of scripted programs with actors, sets, and writers paid union wages. The format has proven popular in Europe and Asia, making licensing deals appealing. In addition, many reality shows earn extra money through product placement. Watch an episode of The Biggest Loser and count how many times brand-name products are mentioned during the show. Despite their name, few of these shows actually capture “reality.” Through postproduction editing techniques and loose direction regarding how to act or what to say, the shows present a ­contrived narrative that may bear little resemblance to the participants’ experiences at the time. Although reality shows have made some people celebrities, they also routinely subject participants to Reality shows remain very popular despite the fact many do not truly capture any “reality” with public ridicule. which most viewers would be familiar.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How many reality shows do you watch? Categorize them ­according to their genres, such as documentary style, reality legal programming, reality competition, social experiment, and hoaxes. Do you think certain genres have more ­redeeming social or educational value than others, or is there good and bad to be found within each category?


  high-definition television (HDTV) Modern television technology that produces a much higher-resolution image, sharper color, a wider aspect ratio, and superior audio. Ultra-high definition is next-generation TV with even higher resolution video. 4K TVs can display video at 4,000 lines of resolution, compared to the 420 lines of standard definition TV.

  digital television (DTV) Television system in which all information broadcast by cable or through the air is in digital, or computer-readable, form.

  multicast Simultaneous transmission of multiple channels of compressed content or the same content but at different times.

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The video and audio of the electronic television’s display terminal has evolved since its early years. Long before the digital revolution in 1973, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) began research on analog high-definition television (HDTV), demonstrating Hi-Vision in 1981, which had much higher resolution, sharper color, a wider aspect ratio, and superior audio. In 1990, an American company, General Instrument Corporation, proposed all digital television (DTV), which became the global standard for next-generation TV. Note that HDTV can be digital, and digital TV can be HDTV, but the two were not always synonymous. Since June 2009, all television broadcast signals in the United States were switched to digital. DTV enables the convergence of computing, television, and telecommunications that makes new storytelling techniques possible as well as linking to multicast (multiplex), simultaneously transmitting multiple channels of compressed content or the same content but at different times. DTV is another step toward converging TVs and PCs or other digital devices (e.g., tablets).

THE RISE OF FLAT-PANEL DISPLAYS Large-screen, flat-panel, high-definition displays have changed the televisionviewing experience. They bring near-theater-quality sound, color, and picture clarity to living rooms, sometimes in 3-D and all while saving space. Two main types of flat-panel displays have gradually overtaken CRT television: liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and plasma displays. Seen in digital alarm clocks, laptops, and tablet computers, LCD screens also use much less power than the traditional CRT display. At the end of 2007, LCD outsold CRT sets worldwide for the first time. In 2008, they became the majority of sets sold, at just over 50 percent, and their sales continue to grow. LCD technology originated in the late nineteenth century and was developed throughout the first half of the twentieth century, yet the first LCD was created only in 1972. Defying earlier beliefs that LCD screens could be no larger than forty inches, television manufacturers have ramped up production of large-screen LCD television sets. Plasma displays, created around the same time as the early LCD screens, appeared to have a number of advantages over LCDs in terms of picture quality, viewing angle, and screen size. With LCDs now nearly matching the size of plasma displays, however, and with LCD costs generally lower, plasma screens, as well as projection TV, have become less popular for large-screen, HDTV viewing. In some public areas, such as sporting arenas, very large screen displays using light-emitting diode (LED) technology are preferred. Smart-screen TVs are another type of flat screen making significant inroads. These advanced TVs feature touch and gesture control and speech recognition, capabilities that enable interaction with programming as well as intuitive

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interfaces for channel navigation and more. They also support video chat and other functions typically available on network-connected PCs or tablets. Next-generation displays have begun to incorporate curve-LED displays combining ultra-high-definition video with immersive 3-D viewing experiences that no longer require the viewer to wear stereoscopic glasses yet still create the feeling of a virtual presence within the video stream.

Television Distribution Screen-image quality matters little if there is no way to mass distribute content—thus the early importance of television  networks, derived directly from the existing national radio  networks. Television programming is distributed in three primary ways: broadcasting, cable, and direct-to-home ­satellite. The Internet may catch up, however. It has rapidly become a fourth important medium, as more people watch clips of shows or entire programs online.


First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance on the 2013 Academy Awards television broadcast was digitally altered by Iran’s semiofficial news agency Fars to cover her chest and shoulders, conforming with Iranian restrictions on images of the female body in media. CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: Do you agree with Fars’ decision to alter the First Lady’s appearance digitally to conform with local conservative religious views? Why or why not?

Broadcasting (terrestrial wireless) is the traditional means of over-the-air TV distribution for networks, affiliates, and local stations. ABC, CBS, and NBC were all originally radio networks; and Fox, launched in 1986, became the fourth national network, owned by News Corp. The broadcasting networks dominated television viewing until the 1980s when cable and satellite TV made program and audience fragmentation inevitable. Today, about 15 percent of U.S. households receive terrestrial signals on their primary TV set, but broadcast programs are also carried on cable and satellite TV. In fact, the three traditional commercial networks still have a cumulative monthly audience reach of 65 percent.20

CABLE TV Many think cable TV was invented in the 1980s. But the first systems, community antenna television (CATV), were built noncommercially in M ­ ahoney City, Pennsylvania, and Astoria, Oregon, in 1948. In these communities, over-the-air reception was nonexistent or poor due to hilly terrain or distance. A nationwide cable system did not begin expanding rapidly until the 1970s, when local cable systems grew from about two thousand in 1970 to more than four thousand in 1980. In the 1980s, the government began deregulating the industry, permitting companies to buy cable television systems nationwide. Early cable giant TeleCommunications, Inc. (TCI), now a subsidiary of AT&T Broadband, took advantage of deregulation, spending $3 billion for 150 cable companies across the United States. By the end of the decade, 50 percent of U.S. households were wired for cable TV.

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  community antenna television (CATV) Cable television developed in 1948 so communities in hilly or remote terrain could still access television broadcasts.

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SATELLITE TV Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) emerged in the United States in the 1990s as a serious competitor with traditional terrestrial broadcast and cable television. Although already a viable commercial television alternative in Europe, sustained efforts to launch DBS in the United States had failed until the 1994 launch of DirecTV. Prior to that, most direct-to-home satellite systems required expensive, large three-meter dishes. DirecTV and other 1990s DBS entrants introduced inexpensive, compact eighteen-inch dishes that could be installed without professional help and whose subscription price rivals that of cable. With its 20 million subscribers, DirecTV ranks second only to cable multiple system operator (MSO) Comcast in terms of subscribers, while rival Dish Network, with 14 million subscribers, ranks third.

Television Industry Today Television station ownership has continued to consolidate since the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The 35 percent rule now permits groups to own stations that nationwide reach up to 35 percent of television households and to own two stations in major markets. There are more than ten thousand local cable systems and two satellite distributors, yet consolidation in the video-distribution industry has resulted in a relatively few companies—roughly six hundred MSOs—controlling cable television and satellite TV for more than 90 percent of American subscribers. As Table 5-2 shows, the top multichannel video programming distributors have nearly three-quarters of all cable TV subscribers. Between 2008 and 2014, Comcast lost more than 2 million subscribers and second-place Time Warner more than five hundred thousand, a decline especially notable in urban areas where the telephone companies, such as Verizon and AT&T, offer fiber-optic services.21 The top 13 cable MSOs continued to lose subscribers in 2014, with some 150,000 subscribers cutting their cable cord in the third quarter of the year, the worst quarter in the history of cable TV.22 Of course, companies like Comcast have at the same time gained new broadband Internet subscribers: 315,000 in the third quarter of 2014, for a total of some 21.6 million.23

CABLE SYSTEM STRUCTURE The typical cable system features a tree-and-branch architecture. A headend, or main office, is the center, with fiber or coaxial cable trunk lines, feeder lines, and drops to end users. The 1990s move from analog to digital technology entailed upgrades costing most cable companies millions or billions of dollars not only to improve and expand channel capacity but to add interactive features, such as twoway capacity (e.g., for program ordering), cable modems, and set-top box converters for high-speed Internet. In 2014, more than 80 percent of American households subscribed to pay TV at an average basic subscription cost of $123, an annual increase of 9.4 percent since 2011.24

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  Top Multichannel Video-Programming Distributors in the United States, 2014 table 5-2

Cable/Satellite MSO

Number of Subscribers






6,067,000   5,533,000



Source: Leichtman Research Group, Inc. accessed March 1, 2015, press/111414release.html.

SATELLITE VERSUS CABLE DBS offers more than three hundred digital programming channels, compared to nearly two hundred for cable. Subscriptions are usually cheaper than cable, even basic cable, but installation costs are involved with satellite dishes and other equipment. The greatest DBS problem is its lack of a full local array, important for local news, weather, and other programming. Despite great channel capacity, they cannot carry every local station, only those in the largest markets, which require subscribers to pay a fee. Cable companies have been strongly criticized for increasing monthly subscription costs and poor customer service. Most areas have only a single cable provider, although this is changing in some urban or heavily populated areas. Cable companies are introducing more services—such as VOD, DVRs, and video gaming—to compete with satellite and the Internet.

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Television-Industry Business Model Business models vary with television-signal delivery. Traditionally, terrestrial broadcasting networks relied primarily on selling advertising, one-minute or thirty-second ads, taking up between sixteen and twenty-two minutes of an hourlong program. Advertising revenues generated network profits and subsidized the development of new shows. They also created a culture among networks very similar to that in Hollywood—a risk-averse mindset that sought hit television shows to attract the largest audiences, which meant more lucrative commercial spots. This promoted a copycat trend as other networks scrambled to emulate hit shows the next season. The importance of tracking audiences led to the Nielsen ratings, a way to measure how many people in various markets were watching a particular show. As Nielsen ratings became the yardstick of success, small drops in viewership could have profound consequences, such as moving shows to different days or time slots or canceling them completely. Founded in the 1920s by Arthur Nielsen for radio-audience measurement, the system relies primarily on two means of data collection. First is the diary of selfreported TV-watching behaviors. Second is the Set Meter, a digital device that automatically collects viewership data from TV sets. Set Meter data are combined with viewing data collected by individual “people” meters as well. In 2013, Nielsen announced it would begin collecting data about viewership from DVRs. Ratings are calculated by dividing households viewing a program by the total number of TV households. So a rating of 25 would mean one-quarter of all TV households (estimated by Nielsen at 116.3 million in 2014) watched a particular program. Nielsen reports ratings by demographic group as well, collecting its most detailed and comprehensive data four times a year during “sweeps.” Nielsen data show a continuing trend of declining viewership of live TV, with the average American watching 4 hours and 32 minutes of live TV each day, 12 percent less than in 2013. Cable’s fragmentation of audiences made the Nielsen ratings a less accurate measure. Even hit cable shows usually have smaller audiences than low-rated network shows. Like satellite, cable services are typically offered in tiers, varying program packages at varying rates. The main cable services are basic, premiere channel, and per program, either pay-per-view or VOD. The FCC requires basic service, the minimum level, to include all local overthe-air television broadcast signals and all public, educational, or government-access channels. Basic cable channels air commercials even as they charge a monthly subscription fee. Smaller audiences mean lower advertising rates, however. Premium cable subscribers get commercial-free content on various bundles, including HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime as well as specialized NCIS became the world’s most popular TV drama and foreign-language channels. Additional monthly fees can range anyin 2013 as it entered its twelfth season. It also where from $4.99 to $16.99 a month. Pay-per-view services include fights boasts two spin-offs featuring stories set in Los or other sporting events, usually for around $50, while the increasingly Angeles and New Orleans. CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: What accounts for the international popular VOD costs anywhere from $2.99 to $16.99 to download a movie. appeal of NCIS? Identify a number of popular series Some services offer free on-demand content along with paid programming. with spin-offs. Do you think the spin-offs proved as VOD services will continue to grow, especially as networks, cable, and satpopular as the originals? Why or why not might this be the case? ellite compete with online television services and services like Netflix.

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An alternative to advertising and subscription-based models is public broadcasting. In the United States, PBS, a private, not-for-profit corporation owned by member stations, depends on a combination of annual federal appropriations, corporate sponsorships, and private viewer contributions. Different yet is the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Started in the United Kingdom in 1936, it receives an annual fee collected by the government as a broadcasting tax levied on all TV and radio receivers.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: If you had to restrict your viewing to only one of the following for a month—network television, premium cable, or video on demand—which would it be and why?

Outlook for the Television Industry The switch to an entirely digital television signal in the United States in 2009 freed up some areas of bandwidth used by analog while allowing broadcasters and cable operators to offer new products, including VOD and other interactive services. More significantly, it signaled another step toward an exclusively digital media world. Although cable and satellite operators have had to adjust to digitization changes, network television has arguably been most affected, as audiences are drawn to other viewing options such as edgier or more innovative cable shows. And as audiences shrink, so do advertising revenues. Networks are experimenting with online viewing, such as with, founded in 2007. Co-owned by NBCUniversal, News Corp., and Providence Equity Partners, Hulu was easily able to expand content from subsidiary companies Fox, NBC, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Brothers Television, and others. The networks have also made a notable effort to have online streaming video of a distinctly superior quality to the videos found on YouTube. These programs sometimes have embedded advertisements. To watch full episodes, users must pay a monthly fee to Hulu Plus. The subscription model of Hulu Plus is yet one more example of how media companies are realizing that old business models are untenable and that if they do not do something online, other upstart companies will. Some companies, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Microsoft, are producing pilots (the first-run test shows of new TV series) and even entire original series for online distribution. Series produced for digital distribution on Netflix include House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Orange Is the New Black. And the fourth season of cult classic Arrested Develop- In 2015, HBO Now launched Internet streaming of its original ment was also a Netflix exclusive. With Amazon Fire TV, programming and movies in an exclusive partnership with Apple, a subscribers to Amazon Prime can watch more than 200,000 convergence of media and technology that should appeal to a generation of cord-cutters and cord-nevers. The streaming service movies and video and other content including music on costs $14.99 a month, and its April debut coincided with a new season demand via the Internet. of Game of Thrones, HBO’s most popular series.

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Media Careers Entertainment is serious business at home and abroad, a dynamic field in a state of constant growth. The U.S. entertainment industry generates billions of dollars, revenue accrued in domestic and international markets. Rewarding careers in the visual arts of photography, film, and television are too numerous to list. Identifying the specific path that you would most like to pursue is an important first step. The most high-profile positions, for the few who attain stardom, are in acting; but actors would be nowhere without talent behind the scenes in the major professions of casting (both locations and people), art, camera and lighting, costuming and makeup, special effects, production, directing, and writing. Numerous career options exist within each of these categories. Media jobs in the television and movie industry also include creative opportunities for reporters and publicists. These positions require both skill in multimedia production as well as an understanding of social networking media and a strategic appreciation of the changing nature of TV and film in the increasingly interactive, mobile, and on-demand global marketplace.

LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD Deregulation and the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 paved the way for mergers and consolidation in the cable industry in recent years. Cable TV now offers consumers bundled packages of telephone, cable television, and Internet service. Verizon, traditionally a telecommunications company, has begun offering more regions in the United States direct-to-home fiber-optic lines, FiOS, a service whose popularity has contributed in part to the decline in cable subscribers. Cord-cutters and cord-nevers are increasingly turning away from cable and other traditional pay TV services and toward broadband Internet services, wired and wireless, to access and watch VOD, live and interactively. If consumers use a cable provider for their telephone service, which rules apply—cable TV regulations or phone regulations? Why should an email sent over telephone wires be treated differently, from a legal perspective, than an email sent via cable? This goes to the heart of the so-called network neutrality debate roiling broadband policy makers. From both a production and a distribution point of view, digital has presented a challenge to industries stretching back to the nineteenth century. Consumers have been increasingly empowered as both creators and distributors of their own movies and photographs. Reduced prices and their convergence with the Internet via mobile devices such as the tablet and the smartphone have made digital cameras ubiquitous. Increasingly, TV viewers are holding another digital screen, such as a tablet or a smartphone. Multiscreen viewing, a trend likely to increase, was evident with Super Bowl XLIX. More than two-thirds of viewers were also using a handheld device and sending 24 million tweets, often interacting via social media with friends or family. This century will continue to reshape the visual storytelling of photographs, television, and motion pictures in an increasingly public and participatory environment of social media and interactive technology. These changes in media production and consumption also present various problems, however, including the impact of such transformations on privacy and cultural transmission.

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media matters


Eye-Q Test

1. (T/F) The principles used in photography were known for hundreds of years before the first photograph was ever made. 2. Was your first camera digital? Of the many ways that digital photography has revolutionized picture taking and distribution, which do you consider most important and why? 3. Is it an invasion of privacy to take a picture or shoot a video of the front of your house without your permission and post it on the Internet? 4. Why did some of the earliest film pioneers, such as the Lumière brothers, believe film to be a novelty that would be a short-lived fad? 5. Keep a diary for a week of the television shows you watch, how long you watch them, and how

(TV, computer, VOD, a mobile device, etc.). What patterns do you see, and what implications do they have, if any, for your media consumption? 6. If you live to be seventy-five, how many years of your life will have been spent watching television? 7. What is the most common way Americans get television signals—over-the-air broadcasts, cable, satellite, or online? 8. Are you a multiscreen viewer? It what ways does this media habit detract from and enhance the viewing experience? 9. When did all television signals in the United States convert to digital format?

9. June 2009. on screen would soon wear off.  6. eleven years.  7. Cable (but closely followed by satellite, and with Internet-delivered video growing rapidly).  ANSWERS: 1. True.  3. No.  4. Because they took film of people doing everyday activities, and they felt the novelty of watching such things

FURTHER READING American Photography: A Century of Images. Vicki Goldberg, Robert Silberman (1999) Chronicle Books. Film Art: An Introduction, 8th ed. David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson (2008) McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Hollywood! A Celebration. David Thomson (2001) DK Publishing. The Film Snob’s Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Filmological Knowledge. David Kamp, Lawrence Levi (2006) Broadway Books. Film: A Critical Introduction, 2nd ed. Maria Pramaggiore, Tom Wallis (2007) Allyn & Bacon. The Film Encyclopedia: The Complete Guide to Film and the Film Industry, 6th ed. Ephraim Katz (2008) Collins. The Business of Television. Howard Blumenthal, Oliver Goodenough (2006) Billboard Books. The Columbia History of American Television. Gary Edgerton (2009) Columbia University Press. Dangerous Lives: War and the Men and Women Who Report It. Anthony Feinstein (2003) Thomas Allen. The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures. Edward Ball (2013) Doubleday. Movies: Discovering Careers. Facts on File (2012) Ferguson Publishing.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 162 Interactivity Defined 163 Interactive Media Versus Mass Media 165 Historical Development of User Interfaces 168 Historical Development of the Internet and the World Wide Web 173 Video Games 174 Historical Development of Video Games 177 Types of Video Games 180 Video-Game Industry 182 Trends in Video Games 183 Gamification 184 Augmented Reality 185 Ethics of Interactive Media

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6 Interactive Media



ormer college journalism student Palmer Luckey has emerged as a digital media trailblazer at the ripe old age of twenty. Taking his idea for a virtual reality headset to the crowdfunding website Kickstarter in 2012, Luckey quickly amassed some $2 million in funding, enabling him to create a working prototype. That captured the attention of another wunderkind, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of social media giant Facebook, who then acquired Luckey’s virtual reality enterprise, Oculus Rift, investing 42 billion in the startup.1 Moving rapidly toward the consumer media marketplace, Oculus Rift signals the arrival of fully immersive and interactive media. Although it did not achieve the same start up acclaim as Oculus Rift, there was another unusual hit in 2014: the latest version of the game Minecraft. Created in 2009 for the PC, the game’s simple and blocky graphics belie the complexity of the game, as players can literally interact with every element in the game world. If visually Minecraft resembles video games from the 1980s and early 1990s, its sales figures reflect the popularity of video games today. Minecraft has sold more than 10 million copies for the PC and more than 54 million across all platforms.2 And like today’s social games, Minecraft has multiplayer options that allow people to compete against each other. A comparison of the seemingly disparate Minecraft and Oculus Rift reveals one thing in common—YouTube. Gamers across all platforms record and share their play online to create helpful video reviews and tutorials for others. They, too, discuss user-created modifications—mods—to the game. Fans have also created scene-by-scene video presentations of their experience playing Minecraft using the Oculus Rift. Wearing this headset, gamers can play Minecraft within a completely immersive environment. Characters are rendered and edited just like in video or film. These YouTube mods have impressive viewing numbers approaching a million or more. A Minecraft movie is apparently in the offing, and a wide variety of Minecraftthemed video parodies can be found on YouTube, ranging from Katy Perry to Coldplay, when they aren’t being shut down for copyright infringement claims by the artists or their producers. This illustrates cross-fertilization between old and interactive media and some of the problems that accompany the hybridization.

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Define the elements of interactivity.


Explain the importance of interactivity in terms of modern media.


Describe the historical development of user interfaces, the Internet, and the World Wide Web.


Explain how digital distribution empowers audiences to act as distributors themselves.


Describe why user interface is important to mass communication.


Explain how emerging trends will affect user interface and the way we use media.


Discuss relevant similarities in today’s video-game industry with older media.


Explain what augmented reality is and how it can be used by media and other companies.


Identify some of the ethical issues related to interactive media. 161

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  user interface (UI) Junction between a medium and the people who use it.

Digital media transformed mass communication by allowing audience members to interact with content, with media producers, and with each other. Interactivity has had sweeping implications for all aspects of media and communication. In the past, audiences were largely recipients of news and entertainment from media producers. Newspapers, magazines, and books had limited distribution and a restricted amount of news or information. Likewise, radio and television stations covered only specific geographic areas (as local stations still do). Although cable and satellite expanded the reach of television, viewers were still generally passive. A publisher or broadcaster sent media content to a large audience that could do little to influence the experience, short of not watching or reading at all. Today, the audience can choose not only the type of content and media source but, in many cases, how, where, and when to engage with it. People can watch a video clip of an interview aired on television the previous day, download its full text transcript to read later on a mobile device, or get the audio podcast. Rather than trying to decipher unclear lyrics by listening over and over to a song, people can go to any number of song-lyrics sites and learn the actual words. Furthermore, audiences can easily distribute content to each other through email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Interactivity has produced dramatic changes in the public’s relationship with media. Its power to engage and involve users also raises new ethical issues, which we explore in this chapter. In this chapter, we will focus on two main arenas where interactivity is most readily apparent: the user interface (UI), which enabled the development of the Internet itself and the burgeoning video-game industry, and the emerging field of augmented reality, which promises to further change our media usage.

Interactivity Defined   interactivity For digital-media purposes, it consists of three main elements: (1) a dialog that occurs between a human and a computer program, (2) a dialog that occurs simultaneously or nearly so, and (3) the audience has some measure of control over what media content it sees and in what order.

Interactivity, a crucial aspect of digital media, has been defined in many ways. According to media and Internet scholar Sheizaf Rafaeli, it is “the condition of communication in which simultaneous and continuous exchanges occur.”3 In other words, interaction involves two or more parties communicating through an ongoing give and take of messages. For our purposes, we will define interactivity as having the following elements: 1. A dialog that occurs between a human and a computer program (this in-

cludes emails, online chats, and discussion groups; at either end of the communication flow, a human interacts with a computer program—the Internet is simply the channel). 2. The dialog affects the nature or type of feedback or content received,

changing as the dialog continues. 3. The audience has some measure of control over media content and the

order in which it is seen (getting personalized or localized information, magnifying an image, clicking on a hyperlink, etc.). These three components include almost all the activities that characterize our interaction with digital media and distinguish it from our interaction with traditional media. Some may consider changing television channels interactive, but the viewer is unable to engage in dialog with the television and cannot alter the nature of a program on a particular channel. The level of interactivity involved in

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changing channels with a remote is simply not the same as that which characterizes Internet use. In a dialog, both parties adjust their messages in response to feedback, thus changing the nature of subsequent messages. Consider a simple example: You are eager to share a funny story with a friend, but observing that he looks depressed, you ask what is wrong rather than launching into your narrative. The feedback you received altered your message. If you had sent a letter instead, the story would have been conveyed as originally intended regardless of his state of mind. The same thing happens in an interactive media environment, not only between users but between computer programs and users. Someone reading a news story may click on a hyperlink for an unfamiliar name, taking that reader to another website that describes the person, which in turn may lead to other interesting links. This essentially changes the story for that particular user, who may have a very different sense of it than someone who read the same story but did not click on those links. Similarly, two people may have very different impressions of the same story after typing in their zip codes to get personalized or localized information or after viewing a multimedia slideshow of the story as opposed simply to reading text or listening to it on the radio. Traditional media devices do not permit switching, such as moving from a printed newspaper story to audio.

Discussion QuestionS: Consider the differences between immediate interactivity, such as pushing a button or discussing on IM, and delayed interactivity, such as email or a discussion board post. How does the change in time affect conversations and relations?

Interactive Media Versus Mass Media Interactive media can present information in a way that encourages users to learn and explore. Online quizzes, surveys, and games appear in many places on the Web, ranging from news sites to interactive advertising, although many such items could be considered gimmicks. A far more important aspect of interactive media is how it changes the media experience for users. The dialogic nature of interactive media can personalize our relationship with content and make it more relevant and compelling. We engage not only with media but also with others through discussion forums, online chat, instant messaging, emails, and social media—interactivity that may further increase content relevance. Interactive media also change our concepts of narrative and what makes a story. The control A web-based documentary on a dying county in West Virginia, Hollow allows visitors typically enjoyed by producers in traditional to explore different narrative arcs through video interviews with some of the residents media could well be a thing of the past in an inwho still live there.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: In what ways do interactive teractive media environment. Users may have narratives empower the audience? What kinds of challenges do journalists face when less patience with long, complex stories and be creating this kind of interactive narrative?

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more inclined to take hyperlinked detours. Users on varied narrative routes may wind up in different places because choices made during many video role-playing games may determine the ending. A growing number of interactive documentaries illustrate the significance of storytelling via varied narrative routes. Among the best examples are the award-winning Hollow: The Story of a Dying County in West Virginia;4 Fort McMoney: An Interactive Game Based on An Oil Boomtown;5 Le Mystere de Grimouville: A Mystery in a French Community (requires French);6 and Inside Disaster Haiti.7 Interaction is important for media companies in other ways. Companies can see who commented on a particular story, how many visitors it had, how long they stayed, and where they went next. This knowledge can influence editorial content as publishers seek larger audiences. A type of story that gets more page views may tempt publishers to produce more of such pieces. The ability to interact with the media and share one’s specialized knowledge has embarrassed some news organizations, as readers point out errors or bias in news stories. Although newspapers have long published corrections, lag time, space limitations, and editorial control over what receives an official correction


The Internet of Babel It is easy for Americans, especially, to forget that not everyone speaks English, even as a second language. To date, language has generally not been a major issue on the Internet, largely because Internet users have tended to be well educated and able to communicate in English even if it is not their native language.

As Internet use spreads among people throughout the world, English will lose its dominance. In 2014, ­Mandarin (Chinese) was the most widely spoken language in the world, with one billion speakers. English is the second-­most widely spoken, with 508 million speakers worldwide. Although the number of English speakers on the Internet grew about 300 percent between

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2000 and 2014, that is dwarfed by the more than 1,000 percent growth in the number of Chinese speakers during the same time. Only Russian, with 1,825 percent growth, and Arabic, with 2,501 percent growth, showed comparably huge leaps in the number of Internet users.8 Even so, Arabic speakers made up only 3.3 percent of total Internet users and Russian speakers 3 percent. Together, the top ten Internet languages (in order: English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, German, French, and Malaysian) make up more than 82 percent of Internet users worldwide. As languages other than English proliferate on the Internet, conflicts between different groups can increase. For example, when large numbers of Brazilians joined the social-networking site Orkut, they spoke among themselves in Portuguese, making English speakers feel left out. Monolingual English speakers could be missing opportunities to get information and communicate with others. Although translation programs are improving, they still cannot compare to a good human translator. Still, hope remains for the monolingual English speaker as a growing number of free or low-cost language-teaching sites, such as Busuu and Duolingo, make it easier than ever to learn a foreign language. Even better for some, a growing number of volunteer translators are willing to fill in the gaps that computer translations miss.

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has limited usefulness. In an online, interactive environment, readers can see comments and corrections from users along with the story. The ability to learn what others may be saying about a particular news story or type of media content greatly democratizes our information environment. It helps us understand others as a community, albeit perhaps a specialized or temporary one. Yet it also threatens the traditional balance of power between media organizations and the audience. But before we address these issues, let’s take a look at the feature that enables interactivity—the user interface.

Historical Development of User Interfaces So familiar a feature is the user interface (UI), the junction between a medium and a user, we rarely give it a second thought and tend to forget that everyday practices initially had to be learned. Computers, because of their relative complexity, have more UI issues than traditional media. Even something as simple as navigating with a mouse can be challenging for a computer novice, let alone the functions of right-clicking and double-clicking. Digital media have enabled a more active audience, one familiar with word processing, browsers, email, and so forth. The interface has helped shape these uses while empowering users, functions critical to the future of mass communication. Media content is essentially wasted if users cannot find a given website and access the desired information. The user interface should be intuitive and natural yet appropriate to the medium and customizable in content.

Discussion QuestionS: Give the address of a familiar website to a partner, and without looking at the screen, instruct the partner to complete certain tasks on the site. How difficult is it to explain the user interface or certain functions when you cannot look at the site and do it yourself? Why do you think this is so?

TELEVISION INTERFACES Before the development of the computer, we did not generally employ the term “user interface.” This is because traditional analog media were not designed to be interactive, and the equivalent of the user interface was generally unchanging. Turning a dial or pushing a button to receive content was an easy task to master. The development of the electronic user interface has both technological and social dimensions, getting people accustomed to using new technologies in a mass-­ communication context. Had the public not been familiar with television, it might not have been as ready to adapt to the Internet and computers. Technological improvements in computer monitors, often now called displays, once they became the standard interface with computers, have largely been driven by the desire for more of the qualities that we have come to expect from television screens, such as color, a screen of certain dimensions, and crisp images. Although computer makers originally borrowed from television in creating monitors, television has returned the favor in borrowing from the online world of screen windows, scrolling text or tickers, and multiple items on various topics on a single screen. This is especially evident in newscasts.

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Remote controls have grown increasingly complex as we have gained more functions and channels on our television sets.

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  multitasking In a computer environment, doing several activities at once with a variety of programs, such as simultaneous word processing, spreadsheet, and database work while conducting real-time chat through an instant-messenger service.

  human–computer interaction Any interaction between humans and computers, either through devices such as keyboards, mice, and touch screens or through voice recognition.

The TV remote control is not only one of the most important transformational technologies in television but also often the source of friction between the sexes and among family members. The first TV remote control was introduced in 1950.9 Zenith introduced the Lazy Bones, a remote control connected by a wire to your TV set. In 1955, Zenith introduced the Flash-matic, the first wireless TV remote, which used a flashlight to change channels. The following year, Zenith’s Space Command used ultrasound to change channels but also had the unintended consequence of disturbing household pets. Most modern TV remote controls use infrared technology. The remote control altered viewing habits, as viewers could now easily toggle back and forth between channels, or channel surf, avoid commercials or uninteresting segments in programs, or simply watch multiple sports events.10 Frequently changing channels could be considered a simple form of multitasking. Remote controls changed our media behavior in subtle yet important ways, preparing us for human–computer interactions.

INTUITIVE INTERFACES Because computers and humans use different languages, some kind of interface, or “translator,” is needed to allow communication between the two. The ideal, intuitive interface can be figured out quickly and easily; it should seem natural on first use. In the earliest days of computing, the user interface was anything but simple. Usually, only the inventor or a highly trained specialist could operate a computer, interact with it, or access information contained within it. Data were entered on punch cards, often requiring hundreds of cards to represent even a simple piece of information, such as a series of numbers or names. The output of a computer analysis was typically printed on paper, which might take many minutes or even hours with a slow dot-matrix printer. If computers were to be more useful, they needed not only to become more powerful but also to develop a better interface for both the input and output of information. Even today, improvements and refinements continue to be made in the intuitive interfaces discussed next.

Keyboards The first typewriters, developed in the 1870s to make writing faster, had keyboards arranged alphabetically, but it turned out this was a poor design because some keys were used more often than others and, if typed too quickly, would jam together. Christopher Latham Sholes developed the QWERTY keyboard (after the first row of letters in the upper-left-hand corner of the keyboard) in which the most frequently typed keys (such as “a” and “t”) are spread far apart, slowing down the user and thus discouraging jamming. Jamming became a nonissue with the invention of electric typewriters, but the QWERTY legacy endured, which explains why August Dvorak’s keyboard, created in the 1930s and designed for maximum typing efficiency, was never adopted. His keyboard allows users to type more than three thousand words without reaching with their fingers. The standard QWERTY keyboard can be reprogrammed to the Dvorak layout easily with free software, but most people have never even heard of it.

Computer Mouse In 1968, Douglas C. Engelbart invented the computer mouse, made of wood and used with a companion keyboard. His inspiration was a now-classic article in the

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The Dvorak keyboard is much more efficient for typing than the standard QWERTY keyboard, greatly increasing typing speed and accuracy.

July 1945 edition of the Atlantic Monthly by Vannevar Bush titled “As We May Think.” It discussed how the computer could be a desktop tool. Engelbart’s mouse enabled the easy manipulation of computer data by pointing and clicking as desired. Although a major development in the evolution of the intuitive interface, the computer mouse may also become an artifact of computer history with the rise of touch-sensitive screens on computers and mobile devices.

Touch Screens In 1974, the Control Data Corporation (CDC) introduced PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations), the first computer system to have a touch-sensitive video display terminal.11 Before tablet computers and smartphones, ATMs were the most common example of touch-sensitive screens. Despite greatly facilitating human–computer interaction, touch-sensitive interfaces have certain drawbacks: the need to be within reach of the screen, which means large screen sizes would bother our eyes; and extremely small screen sizes, such as on smartphones, that limit interaction, just as with keyboards. This problem was resolved to a large extent with tablets that provide tactile feedback during typing.

Natural Input Methods The first computer that could accept natural handwriting with an electronic stylus was sold in 1979, although it could not translate into computer-readable text until almost twenty years later. Among the most natural or intuitive user interfaces, as well as the most elusive, are computer voice recognition and speech synthesis. A hallmark of science fiction for generations, they are gradually becoming integral to the computing and mobile phone environment. For example, users can now get  phone audio responses to questions they ask of Siri (Apple) or Google Now (­A ndroid). Speech recognition is not without its weaknesses as well. Imagine, for example, the cacophony in a library if everyone input information or notes in their computers via voice.

GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACES Three developments helped make desktop computers capable of full multimedia: first, the development of greater computing power and increased storage capacity;

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second, the addition of audio and video; and third, the creation of a graphical user interface. The foundation for the modern graphical user interface (GUI, pronounced GOO-ey) was created, like many other computer innovations, at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Debuting in 1974, Xerox’s Alto, a computer with a graphical user interface navigated with a mouse, never caught on with the public. However, Apple Macintosh computers’ implementation of GUI revolutionized human–computer interaction, followed several years later when Microsoft’s Windows implemented a graphical user interface for its operating system. The graphical user interface for personal computers and, later, the Web, enabled digital media to compete vigorously with traditional mass media. Educating and entertaining in ways unimaginable with analog, it not only changed how the audience accessed and utilized information, potentially transforming passive media consumers into active media users, it also changed how media organizations created, produced, and presented stories. Businesses seeking to reach the growing number of consumers online resulted in the commercialization of the World Wide Web, whose history is inextricable from that of the graphical user interface to which we now turn.

  graphical user interface (GUI) Computer interface that shows graphical representations of file structures, files, and applications in the form of folders, icons, and windows.

The highly anticipated Apple Watch, an iPhone-compatible smartwatch available in a number of models, colors, and price points, debuted in April 2015 to mixed reviews. Fashion meets function in the latest digital innovation from Apple, but the learning curve for navigating the small, new interface may be steep.

Historical Development of the Internet and the World Wide Web Expensive computers often large enough to take up entire rooms in the organizations or institutions that owned them originally ran machine-specific languages and programs. They could not communicate with one another prior to the creation of the Internet, whose foundations were laid in 1969 when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). The first national computer network connected

M ilestones in the D evelopment of the I nternet





Email invented.


In response to the 1957 Soviet launch of Sputnik, the U.S. Department of Defense establishes the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop advanced communications capabilities.



DARPA launches the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or ARPANET, the first national computer network.

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DARPA adopts the TCP/IP protocol as the standard for communication among computers in ARPANET.

Cerf and Kahn specify the design of a transmission control protocol (TCP), the basic protocol for the Internet, and coin the term “Internet.”

Mark Andreessen and others create Mosaic, a Web browser, or graphical user interface for the Web, which helps bring the Web into broad public use.


Tim Berners-Lee creates the World Wide Web, a global publishing platform on the Internet.


WikiWikiWeb, the first wiki, is created and named by Ward Cunningham.

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many universities around the country for advanced, high-speed computing applications and research. Still, computers could not yet transmit information easily via the network because there was no “common language” or protocol, a set of rules that facilitate communication between parties who normally speak different languages. The next important development was email, which “kind of announced itself,” said Ray Tomlinson, the computer engineer who invented it in 1971. The Guinness Book of World Records claims the first email message he sent was QWERTYUIOP— the keys on the third row of the keyboard. And, according to Tomlinson, the symbol @ (“at”) was the obvious choice for the symbol to separate the names of individuals from their machines: “As it turns out, @ is the only preposition on the keyboard. I just looked at it and it was there. I didn’t even try any others.”12 Electronic mail was a significant advance, but clearly something more robust was needed, a simplified, common language in which computers could speak to each other and by which they could send and receive large amounts of data.

INTERNET PROTOCOL In 1974, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn introduced the term “Internet” and specified the design of a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) as part of its main protocol. Jonathan Postel, as a graduate student at UCLA, outlined along with Cerf certain key principles of today’s Internet protocols (IP). Although the exact date when the Internet officially started is difficult to pin down, in 1982, the Defense Department adopted TCP/IP as the basis for the ARPANET, requiring universities that wanted to remain in the network to follow suit. Moreover, at this time, researchers began defining an “internet” (lowercase i) as a connected set of networks using TCP/IP, and the “Internet” (uppercase I) as a set of connected TCP/IP internets.13

  Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) A part of the main protocol for the Internet that allows computers to easily communicate with each other over a network.


The dot-com economic bubble bursts in March, ending a run since the late 1990s that saw huge increases in valuations of Internet companies.



There are 70,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots in the United States. Wi-Fi refers to wireless local networks based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802.11. It is broadband, wireless Internet access.



Google founded by Larry Paige and Sergey Brin.

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Wikitude World Browser introduced as first locationbased, augmented-reality web browser.


Internet users top 3 billion worldwide.

Cloud computing enters the mainstream, with computing services, software, and information delivered over a wireless network.


A total of 79 percent of U.S. households have Internet access.14


The Firefox web browser, a free, opensource browser, gets about 10 percent of the worldwide market, third only to Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.


The United States has 256 million mobile 3G users, an 81% penetration rate, while Japan has 99% 3G penetration.

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WORLD WIDE WEB   Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) A protocol that enables the standardized transfer of text, audio, and video files, as well as email, from one address to another.

  Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) A coding format that describes how information should look on the Web.

For its first decade, Internet activity required knowledge of a variety of arcane commands and terminology, and its principal users were academic and government researchers. In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee, a British researcher at CERN, a physics laboratory in Switzerland, invented the World Wide Web (WWW), altering the Internet’s limited, specialized nature and opening it up to a much wider group of users. Berners-Lee created Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that enabled users to connect to other Web pages or sites whose content is displayed and formatted with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). As a global electronic-publishing medium accessed through the Internet, the World Wide Web fostered the most fundamental shift in human communication since the printing press five centuries earlier. It enabled inexpensive many-tomany communication over distance and time while making computer use easier for many nontechnical people. The next development would further lower the barrier and increase Internet access for the masses.

GRAPHICAL WEB BROWSERS The creation of graphical Web browsers helped even nontechnical people navigate the Internet. Formerly, most information online was text based. A graphical Web browser brings multimedia, such as images or icons and other visual tools, to the Web interface, making it more user friendly. In 1993, Marc Andreessen, then at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Champaign–Urbana, created a graphical user interface called Mosaic. Although GUI browsers Viola and Erwise were also created in 1992, by the end of 1993, Mosaic had become the best-known Web browser. Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web to make it easier for people In 1996, Microsoft created Internet Explorer (IE) to compete with Netscape to find information online. (formerly Mosaic and then called Netscape Navigator). Because Microsoft offered Internet Explorer for free and eventually bundled it with the Windows operating system, IE became the dominant browser in only four years, with 75 percent usage, compared to Netscape’s 25 percent. By 1999, at its peak, IE had 99 percent of the browser market. AOL bought Netscape that year and announced in 2007 that Netscape would be discontinued. Firefox, an open-source browser created by the Mozilla Foundation and launched in late 2004, presented the first serious competition for Internet Explorer. By early 2015, without advertising or marketing, Firefox had captured about 10 percent of the browser market, most of it from IE. Google’s browser Chrome, debuting in late 2008, had about 16 percent of the browser market by early 2013, declining about 1 percent from earlier highs. At the same time, IE was down to 56 percent.15 The original GUI Web browser, Mosaic, was revolutionary when released in 1993.

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BROADBAND A crucial element for online communication to reach its full potential as a mass medium is bandwidth. This coaxial or fiber-optic cable of varying capacity is perhaps more readily understood metaphorically as a pipe that delivers data (rather than water) to your home. Tapping the large data pipe, or “fat pipe,” directly allows data to flow at high speeds; through thin pipes, data arrives at a trickle, no matter how fast the personal computer.16 Without high-speed, or broadband, connections, most people cannot receive audio or video in real time or of the same quality as t­ elevision or radio. Broadband Internet behavior differs considerably from dial-up connection activity. Broadband users are more likely to produce and distribute media content, and their online expenditures are more than double. Broadband connections also allow us to receive vast amounts of verbal and visual information from a variety of global sources that increase our knowledge as they broaden our cultural horizons. The inability to access the same information as others can become a serious disadvantage in terms of education or career possibilities. In the United States, broadband telecommunications costs can be high, which means that the lower end of the socioeconomic scale spends proportionately more for what many see today as a basic necessity.

  bandwidth The carrying capacity and speed of telecommunication networks that determine how much information can be sent and how fast it can travel over the networks.

  broadband A network connection that enables a large amount of bandwidth to be transmitted, which allows for more information to be sent in a shorter period of time.

DISTRIBUTION DYNAMICS Even for people who may not be interested in creating original media content or who have no computer programming skills, today’s broadband speeds and extensive networks accelerate the distribution of content. Consider, for example, a photograph from a local online newspaper. A user can easily copy the picture to his or her local drive, separate from the article it accompanies (it is also easy for the user to manipulate the photo, but for our discussion here, that is not important). She or he could then share the digital photo via Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ with, say, two hundred people. Assume that only half of those two hundred people send it to two hundred other people. Within two “generations,” over twenty thousand people could see the photo, all within a matter of minutes after it was originally sent and at virtually no cost to the senders. Distribution no longer depends on sending content from a central location to a passive audience. Rather than accessing media content from central servers, users can keep it on personal computers with large hard drives for storage and make it available to others on the Internet. Many ­localized distribution points have replaced a few centralized distribution points, creating the basis for peer-to-peer (P2P) applications, such as popular musicsharing services.

Discussion QuestionS: See how the Internet can track you. Do a search on Amazon for a product that you would never purchase; then over the following days track what types of ads you see on different websites. How long does it take for the ads to revert back to topics that are actually more relevant to you?

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Mobile broadband Internet access gives Americans high-speed connectivity anywhere, anytime.

  peer-to-peer (P2P) The basis of file-sharing services, a computer communications model and network whose computers are considered equal peers who can send, store, and receive information equally well.

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Figure 6-1

  Client/Server and Peer-to-Peer Networks Client/server model Data stored here

Peer-to-peer model Data stored on each computer

A client/server network relies on a server to provide content to people on the network, and content on a P2P network exists on various individual computers and is shared among them.

  swarming The process used by some P2P systems in which multiple downloads of the same file are temporarily coordinated to accelerate the downloading process.

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Decentralization of distribution means a loss of control for media companies because a single company cannot dictate what every single PC among the public may or may not distribute. This translates into potential lost revenues because copies are made and shared among millions of Internet users without any payment to the copyright holders. This is precisely what is happening with music online. The music industry’s concern stems from the fact that each member of the public who uses file-sharing applications becomes a potential distributor of content merely by having certain files others would like to download. No one has to send anything. File-sharing services using P2P networks started making the news in late 1999 primarily because of the rapid rise in popularity of Napster, a program created by eighteen-year-old Northeastern University student Shawn Fanning. Napster let Internet users easily share MP3 files, a compression format for digital music. College campus networks slowed as millions of students downloaded and shared music, and the music industry discovered just how active audiences could be when empowered by digital distribution. Napster’s centralized servers made it an easy target to shut down through legal action. But other file-sharing services that do not rely on centralized servers have been nearly impossible to bring to court, partly because they are based overseas or frequently move their server locations. Streaming files can also be shared on a P2P network in various ways without a centralized server. Swarming with BitTorrent, perhaps the most popular filesharing protocol on the Internet today, allows users who would otherwise have to pay high server and bandwidth costs to distribute large video and music files easily. Its general operating principle encourages sharing dynamics: the more content a user shares, the more content that user can access. Internet TV services such as Joost used similar swarming techniques to share streaming video files. P2P networks serve other purposes as well, from distributing computing projects to creating an information network impossible to censor or shut down. Should a central company server go down, the content will likely remain available. As long as someone with the material is online, it can be downloaded. This ready availability demonstrates an interesting intersection between technological convergence and cultural convergence, as more people become accustomed to sharing files with one another.

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Video Games Of the numerous interactive ways to use the Internet, which is the most popular? Recently, video games and social media have surpassed email in measures of Internet activity, although it is worth noting that more messages are still sent via email than through the U.S. Postal Service, and email marketing remains a costeffective form of advertising for many companies. Online video gaming has exploded thanks to the graphical user interface, which revolutionized, if not wholly created, the industry. Advances in graphic capabilities helped video games grow from a computer-geek pastime to a huge business on par with, if not surpassing, other forms of entertainment media. Played on computers or other electronic devices with graphic capabilities, video games—whose content is often borrowed freely from movies, television shows, and other areas of pop culture—demonstrate convergence in action. In turn, some popular games, such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Resident Evil, have spawned movies. And machinima, a whole new genre created by video-game ­enthusiasts, takes cross-fertilization even further with 3-D animated movies modeled after video-game scenarios and characters. Many game-related websites have active discussion groups in which fans of a particular game help each other with questions; complain about aspects of the game; compose cheat codes; provide hints for finding special bonus treasure; and even create mods, modifications to games. This ardent dedication, the envy of many other media companies, may court other dangers, however, such as addictive behavior. Video sales have eclipsed U.S. domestic movie box office receipts since 2001. Increasingly, we see commercials for upcoming games that look like movie trailers. Technology, in the form of the video-game consoles, and content, in the form of popular game titles, have been closely intertwined as the industry, games, and technology continue to evolve with the rise of social and mobile gaming.

  machinima A combination of machine and cinema that uses 3-D animation techniques and characters from popular video games to make movies.

  mods Short for “modifications,” usercreated code changes that alter how video games are played or look.

Machinima App on Xbox One represents a new generation of video games that feature cinema quality video production.

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Historical Development of Video Games For a relatively new medium and industry, video games have seen many transformations in the past forty years. Companies have come and gone while certain titles, such as Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros., became part of popular culture. Whole new ways of playing games have developed at the cutting edge of user interface and human–computer interactions. Dating the birth of video games is difficult. In the 1950s, computers programmed to play checkers and chess, for example, could be found in university laboratories or government agencies but were far beyond what any average consumer could ever afford or use. Here, we consider only some of the major developments in popular video games. In 1972, Atari released the arcade version of Pong (a home version was released in 1975), and Magnavox released the sports-related home video game Odyssey, which could be played on the television. Coin-operated arcade games and home


M ilestones in the D evelopment of V ideo G ames



The first computer-based video game, Spacewar!, is created by MIT student Steve Russell.


The Magnavox Odyssey is launched, the first home video-game console.

Milton Bradley’s Microvision is the first handheld game console, grossing $8 million in its first year of release. Limited games, small screen, and lack of industry support led to its downfall in 1981.17



Nintendo releases the Famicom in Japan, released as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the United States two years later, starting the third generation of video-game consoles.

Sega Genesis is released, starting the fourth generation of video-game consoles.


Sony releases the PlayStation, a console that uses discs instead of cartridges, the fifth generation of video-game consoles.



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The arcade version of Pong is created and quickly becomes popular.


Atari releases the Atari 2600, the most successful videogame console of its time, starting the second generation of video-game consoles.


Pac-Man, developed by Namco and designed by Toru Iwantani, will become one of the most influential video games of all time.

Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros., which sells 10 million copies by the end of the year and became the game that defined “platforming.” Until 2008, it was the overall bestselling video game.18


Nintendo releases Game Boy, the first handheld videogame player since the ill-fated Microvision, selling 110 million units worldwide.


Sega releases the Dreamcast, a console that pioneered online gaming and began the sixth generation of consoles.

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video games with consoles and controllers competed for players in the early days. Arcade games initially had the advantage. The first generation of video-game consoles was simply the games themselves; if a customer wanted to buy a different game, then that person had to buy a different console. The “Golden Age” of video arcade games spanned the early 1980s to the early 1990s, fading once console games became as powerful as arcade games and could play the same games with the same quality. Consequently, there are fewer video arcades today. Those that do exist emphasize immersive simulation games, such as racing cars, space battles, and first-person shooters. The second generation was developed in 1977 with Atari’s release of the first cartridge-based video-game console, the Atari 2600 VCS, which allowed players to play different games


Early gamers still fondly remember the iconic Atari 2600 VCS, the first game console that let players change game cartridges.



Nintendo releases the Nintendo DS, which uses a touch screen and stylus.



Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii released. The Wii is the first console to use handheld motion controllers.


Virtual-reality environment Second Life launched.


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Facebook purchases Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) technology for $2 billion, signaling the potential commercialization of VR as interactive media.



Sony releases the PS2, the best-selling console to date, with 138 million units sold.19 Casual gaming skyrockets after the release of The Sims, which goes on to become the best-selling computer game franchise of all time.20



Microsoft releases the Xbox, its first video game console. Nintendo releases the GameCube.


Social games like FarmVille and mobile games like Angry Birds become wildly popular, moving game playing to social-networking sites and smartphones.

Halo 4 becomes Microsoft Studios’ biggest-selling game, gaining $220 million in sales on its opening day.22Angry Birds Space hits 10 million downloads in three days after release.23


Microsoft Xbox 360 released, beginning the seventh generation of consoles.

World of Warcraft becomes the most popular massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), with over 10 million subscribers.21

Eighth-generation consoles— Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, and Wii U—enter the market.


Complaints from gamers cause Microsoft to reverse planned policies for their Xbox One console that would have required a constant Internet connection and restricted players’ ability to sell and trade used games. The OUYA, touted as the next revolution in gaming, released on June 25 for $99. This inexpensive, Androidbased platform, with all games free to test, went on to raise over $8.5 million in crowdsourced funding.24 PlayStation 4 launches late in the year.

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by switching cartridges. Games such as Space Invaders, Combat, and Breakout became very popular and helped make the Atari the dominant console game until the early 1980s when toymaker Mattel released a different system, starting one of the first console wars, which still occur today. In 1985, Japanese playing-card company Nintendo released its Famicom (a shortening of “Family Computer”) console in the United States as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). An 8-bit console, it ushered in the third generation of more powerful consoles, with better graphics and more processor power. Popular games such as Super Mario Bros. and the Legend of Zelda made NES the best-selling console in video-game history. In 1989, Nintendo released Game Boy (GB), a hugely popular mobile player. The 1990s and 2000s saw console makers Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and later, Microsoft competing heavily as they developed increasingly powerful gaming systems and struck deals with game-developer companies for exclusive title rights. The fourth, fifth, and sixth generations of game consoles were largely delineated by either the shift from cartridges to disc-based consoles or the ever-increasing console power from 8- to 16- to 32-bit systems.


Super Mario In the world of video gaming, no one has achieved the fame or fortune of Mario, the carpenter turned plumber turned Super Mario, the king of platform gaming. His story is intimately connected to that of the industry itself, from his 8-bit beginning to his most recent 128-bit incarnation. Yet, whereas the technological world he inhabits has changed considerably over the past three decades, Mario remains largely the same unlikely-looking hero from his early days. His mischievous mustached face, along with his paunchy physique and blue-collar outfit, defies the handsome-hero stereotype but remains curiously compelling to young and old alike. Many celebrities experience a modest debut, and Mario is no exception. He was introduced to the public in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong as Jumpman, a carpenter who contends with an escaped gorilla while leaping barrels and scaling a construction site to rescue a captive maiden. After a name and career change, Mario starred as a plumber battling creatures in the sewers of New York City along with his twin brother, Luigi. Mario Bros. proved a success despite the great video crash of 1983 to 1985.25 In 1985, Super Mario Bros., featured on the Nintendo Entertainment System and credited with reviving the industry, offered some new characters and a new setting, although a rather familiar plot involving a villain who kidnaps a damsel.26 Rated the number one video game of all time by

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G4, Super Mario Bros. has sold over 40 million copies.27 It remains the biggest seller in the Mario franchise, which has expanded to more than 100 games28 selling over 500 million copies.29 Mario games have appeared on nearly every new Nintendo console. Hit series include Mario Kart (e.g., Mario Kart 7 from 2011); Mario Party puzzle games (e.g., Mario Party 3DS); Paper Mario role-playing games (e.g., Paper Mario: Sticker Star from 2012); and sports games, including Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and the 2015 Mario vs. Donkey Kong for the Nintendo Wii U. In 1993, Super Mario Bros. was released as a major film, although it did not translate well to the big screen with human actors. Mario’s enduring popularity in a fickle market is due not only to his winning personality. His new games often offer technological, artistic, and gaming features that satisfy the most avid players while continuing to draw new fans. Despite his displays of athletic prowess at the Olympics, don’t expect Mario, who claims he and his brother can fix anything if there’s spaghetti involved, to lose any weight.

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Sony’s PlayStation, launched in 1995, used CDs rather than cartridges, making games cheaper. More powerful consoles also allowed for 3-D graphics. PlayStation 2 (PS2), launched in 2000, could function as a DVD player as well and became the most popular console of its time. In 2001, Microsoft released Xbox, the company’s first console. Although sales lagged behind Sony’s and Nintendo’s consoles, one of the most popular game titles, Halo: Combat Evolved, was available only on the Xbox. Mobile gaming systems continued to evolve as well, with the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable released in 2004 and 2005, respectively. In late 2005, Microsoft released the first of the so-called seventh-generation game consoles, the Xbox 360, which had an even more powerful processor. In late 2006, however, Nintendo leapfrogged ahead again and released the Wii, a seventh-­ generation console that included handheld motion controllers. Wildly popular for the 2006 holiday season, it quickly sold out in stores. It wasn’t until late 2010 that Microsoft released its own motion-sensing input device for the Xbox 360, Kinect, which used the player’s body motion as a “controller” and followed certain voice commands. The motion sensors in the Wii and Kinect have radically changed how players interact with games. No longer do players simply sit and press buttons with their thumbs (although many still do). Rather, game players can run in place, exercise, dance, do yoga, and even fight as the video game captures their motions in real time. The next generation of consoles, such as Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U, have added or improved on capabilities such as voice commands and face recognition. In another dramatic change, more gaming systems are shifting to online-only modes, forgoing discs. Online services like Steam, Xbox Live, and UPlay allow gamers to play their games from any console or computer, and they facilitate easy downloading of updates and even player mods. These services require a broadband connection, however, and Xbox One’s attempt to move their services Eighth-generation video-game consoles give users an immersive and entirely online drew complaints about restricting players’ interactive experience. use of games.

Discussion QuestionS: Discuss a video game you loved to play as a child or young teenager. What made you like it so much? What made you finally stop playing it? How may your answers to either of these questions relate to material discussed in this chapter regarding user interface and the nature of the video-game industry?

Types of Video Games There are as many video games as there are genres, which many games freely mix and match. As Table 6-1 shows, some of the most popular genres are sports, action, racing, role playing, simulation, and shooter. Genres help set parameters on content and game-play dynamics. Table 6-1 shows other points of interest. First is the prevalence of tried-andtrue titles, especially Nintendo’s Mario franchise. Note also the general

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  Best-Selling Video Games (to 2014)

Table 6-1 Rank





Nintendo: Wii Sports




Nintendo: Super Mario Bros.




Nintendo: MarioKart Wii




Nintendo: Wii Sports Resort




Nintendo Game Boy: Pokémon




Nintendo Game Boy: Tetris




Nintendo DS: Super Mario Bros.




Nintendo: Wii Play




Nintendo: Duck Hunt




Nintendo: Super Mario Bros. Wii




Nintendo DS: Nintendogs




Nintendo Game Boy Color: Pokémon



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Nintendo: Wii Fit




Nintendo DS: MarioKart DS




Nintendo: Wii Fit Plus




Play Station 2: Grand Theft Auto San Andreas




Super Nintendo: Super Mario World




Nintendo DS: Brain Age




XBOX360: Kinect Adventures!




Nintendo Game Boy: Super Mario Land



Source: VGChartz Game Database,

dominance of Nintendo, claiming the top fifteen titles and eighteen of the top twenty. Many Wii games are also on the list. Computer users continue to engage in massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), such as Aces High, and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), such as Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. In this kind of game, players create characters and participate in online quests or missions. They work with other players in real time using chats and text messaging to join teams, fight with or against one another, and gain treasure or experience through battling monsters. Console video-game makers see this area as one with great potential and have been moving to establish their own MMOGs. Examples of this with firstperson shooters are multiplayer versions of games like Call of Duty and Far Cry 3 in which players can either work together in teams or simply participate in free-forall online combat.

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Most MMOGs and MMORPGs use either a subscription model or some variation of a freemium model in which people can play for free but have limited access to the game world or to character development. Many games have also developed in-game economies in which more advanced players can sell or barter items. Some people use real money to buy virtual items that will help them in the games. In China, some enterprises pay people to play and acquire items that can then be sold on auction sites.

Discussion QuestionS: Discuss what types of video games you enjoy and their genre or genres. What makes those games fun for you? Which is your favorite, and why? Do you enjoy online games or those played on mobile devices?

Video-Game Industry Video games sold strongly in the 2000s. Sales did not dip until the recession in 2008. In 2014, U.S. sales of video-game titles and hardware were $10.54 billion, down from $16.998 billion in 2011.30 As in prior years, big-name titles sold well. The top two titles in 2014 were Activision’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which sold 5.8 million units in the United States, and the company’s Destiny, which sold 3.8 million units. Third place went to Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V, which sold 3.3 million units. Small game studios are having increased success, though, as titles such as Papers, Please have captured gamers’ interest. For much of the history of the development of video game titles, many small, independent video-game publishers coexisted with Japanese giants like Nintendo, Sega, and Konami. From the late 1990s and especially in the past several years, there has been rapid consolidation among video-game publishers throughout the world, much as in book publishing and the recording industry previously. Large video-game publishers may develop their own games internally, but often they either contract game development to studios or buy the developer companies outright and run them as subsidiaries. Today, except for the odd hit, such as Minecraft from independent developer Mojang, most games come from subsidiaries of a handful of larger game-publisher companies, some of which themselves may be subsidiaries of global media companies. The largest gaming company by revenue is Japan’s Nintendo. Activision Blizzard, formed by a merger in 2008 of popular game publisher and developer Activision and Vivendi Games (itself a part of NBCUniversal), is the second largest. Some of the company’s popular titles in the separate Activision and Blizzard divisions include the Warcraft series, Call of Duty, the Tony Hawk franchise, and Skylanders Giants. Electronic Arts (EA), founded in 1982, is one of the oldest and largest video-game publishers and developers, third after Nintendo and Activision Blizzard. EA’s wellknown titles include many popular sports titles, such as the Madden NFL and the FIFA series, along with popular action and combat series such as Crysis and Mass Effect. Ubisoft, based in France, is Europe’s largest independent game-development company and the third largest in the United States. Its popular titles include the Assassin’s Creed series, Far Cry, and the Tom Clancy series of games. ZeniMax Media, a U.S. company, has acquired several well-known smaller developers in recent years including Bethesda Softworks, maker of the popular fantasy roleplaying Elder Scrolls titles.

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In recent years, social and mobile games have grown rapidly. In 2009, Zynga launched FarmVille in 2009 on Facebook. Playable on a browser or a mobile device, it had 69 million users within a year—a tremendous growth rate when compared to storied game franchises like the online World of Warcraft, which has 7.4 million subscribers. Social games can coexist easily on popular sites like Facebook and encourage players to recruit new participants from their network of friends.


  social games Online or mobile games that are played in real time with others or that encourage simultaneous group playing.


Is Playing Video Games Bad for You? Some psychologists claim video-game addiction is on the rise. People have collapsed and died after playing video games for days without eating or sleeping. In South Korea, a couple found their 3-year-old daughter dead after returning home from a twelve-hour gaming session at an Internet cafe where they played a virtual-life game similar to Second Life. Twenty-six-year-old Xu Yan died in 2007 in Jinzhou, China, after reportedly playing online games continuously for two weeks during the Chinese lunar New Year holiday.31

Research from 2009 conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario, on 9,000 students from grades 7 to 12, shows about one in ten school-age children spends seven or more hours a day in front of a computer screen. An even greater portion of children this age report having a video-game addiction problem. With the growth of mobile gaming on smartphones and tablet devices, screen time has only increased, as has the likelihood of addiction. Mental health experts say signs of addiction include the following:

• Inability to stop the activity or playing much longer • • • • • • •

The social aspects of massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs) have been blamed for teen suicides, such as the 13-year-old Chinese teen in 2004 who, after playing World of Warcraft thirty-six hours straight, left a suicide note that he wanted to be with his heroes in the game. Others have taken online betrayals or thefts of virtual magic weapons or equipment seriously enough to kill themselves or physically hurt others. Children have become violent when not allowed to play games, and children and adults have skipped school or work to play. Researchers still do not entirely understand the nature of video-game addiction, although they assume it stimulates the same dopamine receptors that affect other types of psychological addictions such as gambling. Games, especially role-playing games, also have powerful escapist aspects.

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than anticipated Neglect of family and friends Lying to employers and family about activities Problems with school or job Carpal tunnel syndrome Dry eyes Failure to attend to personal hygiene Sleep disturbances or changes in sleep patterns

Psychologists believe that online games are addictive in part because they give people who feel like they do not fit into regular society a chance to interact easily with others and to redefine themselves. Other studies have shown that video games, especially character-driven games that encourage a range of activities and exploration, can help people experiment with new identities and new ways of seeing themselves, which in turn can help them in real-life social situations. A 2014 study shows that video-game play can actually influence the physical development of the brain.32 Two 2011 studies from Colorado State University report the potentially positive effects of the popular multiplayer online game World of Warcraft. These studies find that game players can get involved in the game to the extent that they block out their external environment. Researcher Jeffrey Snodgrass reports such “absorptive experiences” can be positive and provide mental health benefits.33

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Recent research has indicated that a family can bond by gaming together while improving communication among family members.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: Have you ever played a board game with your family? A video game? Why or why not might this be the case? Which video games do you think your family might enjoy most as a group activity?

The huge number of players for games like FarmVille means an attractive audience for advertisers, generating a revenue stream that enables Zynga to keep the game free. The information on user behavior that Zynga collects is also a potential gold mine for marketers. Advertisers could use this in combination with other demographic or behavioral data to create highly targeted ads. The industry, however, is still volatile. After much hype regarding the value of Zynga, experts questioned its business model. When their relationship with Facebook ended in March 2013, a huge revenue stream was lost; and in June 2013, the company announced it was laying off one-fifth of its workforce and closing some of its U.S. offices.34 Despite Zynga’s troubles and uncertain future, social games remain a large-scale and growing part of the industry.

Trends in Video Games Some experts initially thought that the video-game market would be limited to males in their teens or younger. Yet research has shown that when the first young people who grew up with home-console video games in the 1980s and 1990s reached their twenties and thirties, they kept playing; and females were playing in greater numbers. The growth in tablet computers has increased the popularity of social and mobile gaming. Today, game publishers tend to release games on multiple platforms. Previously, each console had specific games exclusively, leading to tough decisions for

Video games are increasingly used in settings to help train or educate people, providing simulations that other media simply cannot.

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consumers regarding which console to buy. The statement “Content rules” applies especially to video games, for a handful of popular titles and series make up a large portion of the revenues. In 2014, industry experts wondered if the drop in American sales for traditional industry segments was due in part to the lack of new titles or popular sequels. As industry consolidation continues and game-development costs rise—with budgets sometimes in the millions of dollars—­companies will tend to stick with tried-and-true “blockbuster” series. But online and mobile gaming are likely to see significant growth as mobile devices and Internet-connected consoles are used to play against live opponents around the world. This may reduce the number of new or innovative genres or games in traditional arenas. Those outside the industry see potential for other settings, such as education. Serious games, or applied games, educate players about history or politics, for example, while they entertain. The U.S. Army used video-game training for officers deployed in Iraq, putting them in tense situations requiring quick decisions. Emergency workers and city planners may practice their skills in simulated realworld situations and see the results of certain decisions. Video games have helped some in nursing homes stay mentally sharp and get mild exercise with a Wii, for example.35


  serious games Games created to be fun and educational that use game dynamics to instruct players on topics.

Gamification Gamification, in general terms, is the use of game-like mechanics and thinking in a nongame setting, earning points or rewards, for example, for responding to a survey or writing a product review. Such techniques are not new to the Internet: Consider how you earn points when using some credit cards or how Boy Scouts earn merit badges. Online media provide many opportunities for gamification, including encouraging social competition or community recognition of achievements.

  gamification The use of game-like mechanics in nongame settings, such as earning points, badges, or rewards for performing certain actions.

Badges are typically used in gamification to help give users incentives to participate in a site or perform certain actions.

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Whereas the term itself was coined in 2010, the principles of gamification emerged earlier as ways of better engaging people in mundane tasks. Because we often compete with each other and like to be rewarded, recognized, and generally admired, a growing number of sites have integrated various tools to encourage us to do exactly that. I may earn a badge for answering questions from other users on a site. Some badges may be harder to obtain than others, encouraging me to write more reviews or edit more articles. Displaying my badges to others in the community may encourage others to want more. Sites may encourage voting, which creates competition among ideas or proposals and interaction among users. Such techniques have promoted the growth of many popular sites. The location-­ based social-networking site Foursquare uses badges and titles to encourage frequent check-ins, increasing the site’s usefulness for everyone as more people participate. Gamification techniques can be seen in many fields, including marketing, customer service, and education. Sites like Khan Academy and the language-learning site Duolingo employ gamification to enhance learner engagement. Duolingo users learn parts of a foreign language in modules that unlock other modules and earn digital gold coins as they complete lessons. Gamification has critics, however, who claim that it fosters unnecessary competition, discourages collaboration, and creates a false sense of satisfaction in earning badges for relatively trivial actions.

Augmented Reality   virtual reality The replacement of the real world with a digitized, virtual one, a mainstay of science fiction stories hyped in the late twentieth century.

  augmented reality Digital overlays of information on a screen that correspond to what is being looked at in the real world through the screen.

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Augmented reality overlays digitized information onto what we see in the real world, adding information that would not otherwise be visible to us or including additional information about what we are viewing. Augmented reality differs from and will likely have a greater impact on our lives and media than virtual reality, the replacement of the real world with a digitized, virtual one, a mainstay of science fiction stories hyped in the late twentieth century. Thanks to television sports, we are already familiar with augmented reality. Sports scores, player stats, the yellow first-down line in football, and other extra information shown throughout games can all be considered limited augmented reality. True augmented reality overlays information onto real-world, contextspecific scenarios personalized to each user. For example, a person with an augmented-reality, head-worn display could be looking at the ruins of an ancient Greek amphitheater. The display could overlay any number of visuals, such as what it would have actually looked like in its day. Augmented reality could be useful for tourism in other ways, providing visual cues for public transit or pop-up restaurant reviews. This idea is not new. In the late 1960s, computer scientist Ivan Sutherland created the first head-worn computer display, with limited graphics and computing power. Since the 1970s, researcher Steve Mann has been experimenting with various head-worn, augmented reality displays. Columbia University professor Steven Feiner, a pioneer in augmented reality, has been creating various augmented-­ reality prototypes since the early 1990s. Augmented reality appears most frequently online for advertising and on consumer product websites. The augmented dressing room on a site like allows shoppers to upload pictures and “try on” a variety of dresses overlaid on the photo. You can vote yes or no or even forward the picture to friends. Taking augmented

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reality one step further is Bodymetrics, a company that installs a dressing booth in department stores that scans the body and then shows your “virtual self” in 3-D with different types of clothes, eliminating the need to actually try on each outfit. These are just the first steps in augmented reality, whose true potential as a media interface lies in its personalizing a viewing experience depending on location and context. We see some simple examples of this with mobile phones that can overlay some information, such as map directions, when used as a camera viewfinder. First available to testers in 2012, Google Glass more closely approaches the vision of Mann and Feiner for augmented reality. It lets people access a variety of information regarding what they are observing. A user could ask for sushi restaurants in the area and receive visual cues about restaurants around the corner or blocks down the street. Or a person could access historical photos to see what the neighborhood looked like one hundred years ago. If a landmark looks familiar, a user could ask which movies have used the landmark and get short clips of the movies, perhaps bookmarking them for later viewing. Because the glasses can take pictures and shoot video, wearers could secretly record what they are seeing. For that reason, several Las Vegas casinos have already said they will not allow people wearing them into the casinos. The glasses also invite judgments about the “cool” versus “geek” factor. A popular Tumblr blog, White Men Wearing Google Glass, pokes fun at the Silicon Valley tech types wearing the glasses. Such representations may deter sales. On January 15, 2015, Google announced the end of the public phase of Glass development, although it would Samsung is one of many companies around the world that have continue to develop wearables as an internal research introduced augmented reality head-worn displays to access the program. Internet through immersive media.

Discussion QuestionS: Some contend that secretly recording conversations or activities, even when the acts recorded occur in a public space, is a violation of privacy. State and defend your position on the matter.

Ethics of Interactive Media The power of interactive media to engage and involve consumers of media content raises many ethical issues. Some of these are amplified issues with traditional media; others are largely new. Some touch on age-old concerns regarding free speech, the role of advertising in society, and trust. Interactivity requires faith in others because users must trust those they deal with on the Web. Face-to-face communication includes cues and mannerisms that help us establish trust with others, but online we rely on words and the results of our interactions. Consider what would happen if you were in a chat room discussion with a number of members over the course of several days, greatly enjoying the discussions and the feeling that you have met some interesting, like-minded

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  trolling Posting deliberately obnoxious or disruptive messages to discussion groups or other online forums simply to get a reaction from the participants.

  behavioral targeting Advertisers tracking individuals’ web-browsing behavior to provide ads that closely match the topics of sites visited or searches made.

individuals. Then imagine your sense of betrayal if you learned that one or more of the participants was actually a computer program that gave context-specific responses to human posts. Your trust in that chat room—and perhaps all chat rooms where you did not know the individual participants personally—would likely be broken. Trust between people is similarly relevant because we expect (or hope) that others will respect our views even if they disagree with us and that they will debate in civilized ways. Most people know how disruptive an obnoxious poster can be to a discussion group, spouting incendiary views simply to draw a reaction. Trolling degrades the quality of the discussion and wastes time. Complaints about advertising’s influence have also intensified in an interactive environment. At the forefront of this are video games for children created by companies, such as toy manufacturers, that feature their products prominently in the games. Because of the high level of engagement in video games, critics worry that unaware young users are absorbing hidden commercial messages. Violence in video games is also a major concern to certain groups claiming that the game interactivity influences children more than simply passively watching violence on television. This is one reason the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) was created for video games and mobile apps. Similar to the movie-rating system, it ranges from EC (early childhood) to A (adult only). Ratings correspond to levels and realism of violence, sexual content, and strong language. Behavioral targeting also raises ethical issues. A website tracks your browsing or search behavior and then delivers relevant advertisements. After looking at travel sites, you may get ads for deals on your Facebook page or see travel ads appearing on other sites for several days afterward.

Discussion Questions: Identify some instances where you have encountered trolling. Is trolling more likely to occur on certain sites? What has been your response to such behavior? Explain your reaction.

Media Careers Careers in interactive media represent a growing opportunity, especially for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. Most notably, innovators with a new idea for an interactive media enterprise, such as a new app or a video game, may develop an idea for a digital media prototype and then perhaps solicit funding on a crowdfunding website. Another possibility in interactive media is as a player. Professional video-game playing is on the rise, and an increasing number of colleges even offer scholarships to students who show potential and skill at video-game play. With the growth of augmented and virtual reality, a new career pathway has also emerged for students interested in creating content for those platforms, especially with VR cinema companies such as Jaunt. And jobs also exist for those who write creatively, particularly in the genres of fantasy and sci-fi. Screenwriting and storyboarding skills are also an asset. Game developers come up with a concept; writers develop compelling settings,

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plots, characters, and dialog that bring their concept, an imaginary world, to life. Writers need not be programmers, but they need to be familiar with the latest in video technology and passionate about gaming. Competition is fierce not only for players but also for candidates in this job market, which makes networking an even more important activity for those hoping to break into the industry.

LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD With the convergence of computing, telecommunications, and media, technological changes can affect media and mass communication powerfully. Increased computer-­processing power created better opportunities for a graphical user interface that made computers much more accessible to the average person, which expanded audiences online. Advances in technology will likely further alter our interaction with computers in unforeseeable ways, yet some general patterns in the following broad categories are evident: easier accessibility, more immersive media environments, and seamless or fluid interfaces. The video-game industry is leading the way in these fields because the very success of games depends on how enjoyable and playable they are. Like traditional media, the video-game industry has consolidated. As with Hollywood movie studios, companies show a strong propensity for producing “blockbuster” game titles. The video-game industry now rivals Hollywood in terms of total revenue, with $64 billion earned in 2014. Video game industry revenues are expected to top $100 billion worldwide by 2018, potentially making it the largest media segment of all.36 Wireless handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers are now commonplace. They raise important user-interface questions for content on small screens, such as how people can input information naturally yet privately. Geography and location matter because most devices have GPS receivers. From a user-interface perspective, this means that maps will become increasingly important as graphics-layered information on-screen. Map-based GUIs can provide everything from information on the nearest restaurant, including reviews, to local points of cultural or historical interest. Accessing media content will be increasingly easy, but accessing the content one wants when and where one wants it may be harder than ever unless sound principles in user-interface design are applied to search-and-find functions. A variety of forms of immersive media are emerging and expanding in the online environment. These include 3-D visualizations, virtual reality, 360-degree photography and video, and augmented reality. Immersive media environments can provide experiences unlike those encountered in traditional media or even in the typical digital-media environment, providing new opportunities—and new challenges—for user interfaces. Interfaces that change to suit our informational and entertainment needs will gradually replace largely static web pages. We will not necessarily have to “go to” a website to get information; rather, we may have some version of the Web on a wearable computer and interact with the screen through voice commands or even eye movements. Wearable computers capable of recording do raise privacy issues, among other ethical and social concerns.

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It is important to remember that the online environment with which we are familiar is not simply one in which we receive a variety of media content in different forms, although that continues to be a large part of it. It also includes various ways to communicate directly with media producers, other audience members, and one’s social network. Our user interface helps us receive the kind of information and entertainment we want and easily communicate and interact with others. Interactivity is one of digital media’s central and distinguishing features.


Engaging with Interactive Media

1. Define “interaction” in your own words. How might your definition explain the difference between using the Internet and watching a television show or buying something at a vending machine? 2. Visit a website or download a mobile app for a magazine or newspaper in a language that you do not know. From only visual cues, try to locate specific information such as movie reviews. How well did the common language of user interface and navigation guide you? 3. Gamification is a growing trend, with many websites and mobile apps offering rewards

such as points or badges to encourage users to interact more with the site and one another. What potential disadvantages do you see with the gamification trend, if any? 4. Some critics say that video games are addictive. What behavior do you believe indicates such addiction? 5. Video games have been developed for a wide variety of educational settings, for example, training engineers and emergency workers in simulations. If video games can teach positive qualities and skills in such situations, do violent video games teach violent behavior? Defend your response.

FURTHER READING Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, reprint ed. Marshall McLuhan, Lewis Lapham (1994) MIT Press. Bias of Communication, reprint ed. Harold Innis (1991) University of Toronto Press. A History of Modern Computing. Paul E. Ceruzzi (1999) MIT Press. Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Ways We Create and Communicate. Steven Johnson (1999) Basic Books. The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word. Mitchell Stephens (1998) Oxford University Press. About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design. Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin (2007) Wiley. Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules. Jeff Johnson (2010) Morgan Kaufman. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd ed. Steve Krug (2005) New Riders Publishing.

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The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokémon—The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World. Steven Kent (2001) Three Rivers Press. The Video Games Guide: 1,000+ Arcade, Console and Computer Games, 1962–2012, 2nd ed. Matt Fox (2013) McFarland. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Jane McGonigal (2011) Penguin. 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. Tony Mott (ed.) (2010) Universe. Replay: The History of Video Games. Tristan Donovan (2010) Yellow Ant. The Google Story: Inside the Hottest Business, Media, and Technology Success of Our Time. David Vise, Mark Malseed (2006) Delta. Planet Google: One Company’s Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know. Randall Stross (2008) Free Press. Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters. Bill Tancer (2008) Hyperion. Augmented Reality: Theory and Practice. Dieter Schmalstieg, Tobias Hollerer (2014) Addison-Wesley. The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. Walter Isaacson (2014) Simon & Schuster.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 192 Defining Social Media 197 What Is “Social” About Social Media? 200 Types of Social Media 212 Producers and Produsers 218 Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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7 The Impact of Social Media


ustine Sacco, a 30-year-old senior director of corporate communications at IAC, tweeted several jokes about travel on her way from New York City to visit family in South Africa. At Heathrow Airport in London, she wrote “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” None of her 170 Twitter followers responded; and she got on the plane, blissfully unaware of how that tweet would change her life. Eleven hours later, upon landing in Cape Town, she learned from a friend’s text that @justinesacco had become the number one trending topic on Twitter—and not because of her sense of humor. The editor at Valleywag (essentially a gossip blog) was forwarded her tweet by someone, retweeted it to his 15,000 followers, and posted it on the Valleywag site. From that, a public backlash and shaming of Sacco began.1 Within weeks, she lost her job at IAC while being continually hounded by the media and receiving death threats online, even after she issued a written apology that attempted to clarify she was not racist and had simply been trying to offer social commentary about the bubble of white privilege. Sacco’s case follows a pattern similar to that of others whose various transgressions have provoked publicly shaming through social media—name-calling, death threats, and invasions of privacy, sometimes followed by termination of their employment. In early 2013, a woman at a conference overheard an off-color joke, found it offensive, snapped the jokester’s picture with her phone, and tweeted her displeasure at yet another example of sexism in the technology field to her nearly 10,000 followers. The next day, the man was fired—and, subsequently, so was she. Once the man posted his story online, she received death threats, had her home address publicized, and was eventually dismissed after denial-of-service attacks on her company’s website, which the organization was told would continue until she was fired. Just as the rapid speed of communication among the public on social media has intensified the ability to publicly shame people—even for minor transgressions—­ the same dynamics can be a force that accelerates good works and enhances positive feelings. Consider the Michigan mother who created a “Happy Birthday Colin”

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES >> Define social media. >> Explain the differences

between social media and traditional media. >> Identify the different types of

social media. >> Explain the historical

development of social media within a larger masscommunications context. >> Assess how audiences are

changing from consumers to “produsers.” >> Discuss the potential negative

effects of social media use.


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Facebook page asking people to send her 11-year-old son birthday greetings. The page quickly went viral, generating over 10,000 messages, cards, and letters for Colin, who has a condition similar to Asperger’s that makes it difficult for him to make friends. Good ­Morning America decided to enhance his special day as icing on the cake, so to speak, by hosting a surprise birthday bash in Times Square that featured the Rutgers marching band and a subsequent trip to Disneyworld.2

The tools and capabilities of social media have existed since the earliest days of the Internet, but not until the past few years has their potential been realized by businesses, including media companies. Many of the changes have been driven from the ground up rather than by traditional media companies, a fact that empowers social media and often threatens traditional business models. Social media have altered roles and working practices in journalism, public relations, and advertising. The rise of social media has also brought some ugly social issues to the fore. The potential harm and perhaps prevalence of such negative behaviors as bullying have increased because of social media, with dozens of cases reported just in the past few years of young people committing suicide because of cyberbullying. Of course, racism and bullying did not originate with social media. However, because it makes such bad behavior more public, social media do raise new issues and can make the behavior seem more common.

Defining Social Media Social media continues to be defined and redefined by scholars, professionals, and the press. Finding a description on which everyone agrees is difficult, partly because the tools for social media change with advances in technologies, and popular sites or trends touted as The Next Big Thing seem to lose popularity almost as quickly as they enter the limelight. Nevertheless, we can examine the elements underlying some commonly used definitions and then apply these to the realm of mass communication. According to John Jantsch, author of The Duct Tape Marketing blog, social media can be defined as “the use of technology combined with social interaction to create or co-create value.”3 He keeps the definition concise because his readers are busy marketing professionals. PR professional and social media expert Brian Solis defines social media as “a shift in how people discover, read, and share news and information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many).”4 In other words, social media represent a convergence of mass communication and interpersonal communication. Anvil Media, a search-engine marketing firm, provides a definition derived from sociology: “An umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and ‘building’ of shared meaning, as people share their stories, and understandings.”5 These definitions all mention the intersection of technology, social interaction, and information sharing, seemingly simple elements that will continue to transform many aspects of mass communication. Before looking at them in more

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detail and exploring how they are changing mass communication and media industries, we will examine how social media differ from traditional media.

DIALOGIC COMMMUNICATION Traditional media use a broadcast, or monologic, model of one-to-many communication, whereas social media employ a more dialogic model of many-to-many communication. Of course, this does not mean that mass-media audiences prior to the Internet never spoke with one another—there were fan clubs, letters to the editor, and a variety of ways to interact. The flow of communication, however, favored the broadcaster sending a message to many people simultaneously, with audience members having limited means to share their thoughts with each other on a mass scale. Consider how a viewer in the 1970s might have been able to share his reactions to the previous night’s episode of a popular yet controversial situation comedy like All in the Family. If he watched with friends or family, he could of course comment during or after the show. He might also discuss the program at the office the next day. If, however, a viewer felt particularly strongly about a racist remark made by the character Archie Bunker and felt that others should know how offensive the remark was, options to communicate these feelings to a broad audience were limited, expensive, and generally did not generate dialog. He could write a letter of complaint to the network or the FCC, with no guarantee that he would hear from either. He could write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper; but even if published, it would reach a limited audience of only the paper’s readers (and specifically those who read the letters to the editor that day). He could purchase an advertisement in the newspaper, which might get more attention than a letter to the editor, but that would be expensive, or the paper might choose not to accept such an ad. Or he could create a flyer, make photocopies, and hand them out or mail them to people, which would be both expensive and time-consuming. If the viewer was persistent (or persuasive) enough or if he attracted enough supporters and perhaps held a demonstration or march, his crusade might get picked up as a news story in the local paper or television, thus perhaps attracting more people to his cause. Although at first glance this would seem to be a kind of many-to-many form of communication, consider the mechanisms by which it ­occurred—his message was communicated primarily through mass-media channels. Furthermore, it is unlikely that he would have had the resources—either time, money, or media attention—to carry out a campaign like this in the first place. Now let’s look at what a viewer would do circa 2015. Let us say that a racist comment made by Peter, the father, on the animated Fox show Family Guy offends a viewer. Her first public complaint is likely not a letter to the FCC or the Fox network but a tweet from her Twitter account, perhaps even with a hashtag that helps others easily find tweets on the topic. Or perhaps she weighs in on the discussion board of the show’s website. Or maybe she goes to any number of other discussion groups or fan sites devoted to Family Guy and comments there. Perhaps she finds within a couple of days that someone who shares her views has created a mash-up video of such stereotypes found on various prime-time shows or in the news. The video is uploaded to YouTube, where it gets viewed

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Today audiences are able to express their displeasure with shows through a range of social media outlets, including showing excerpts of the shows themselves.

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hundreds of thousands of times within a couple of weeks. It may appear on a news aggregator site such as Reddit, getting even more views and generating further discussions among YouTube viewers both for and against the position conveyed in the video. Or she may create an online petition on a site such as, asking people to boycott the show or write letters of complaint to the network. If the video is viewed enough times or talked about enough, or the petition gets enough signatures, then mainstream news organizations may cover the story, amplifying public interest and discussion even more. What is notable in this latter example is that, except with the original source material, traditional mass-media organizations are not involved (until perhaps later in the process), yet far more members of the public may be affected in a very short time than would have been the case in the 1970s— or even the 1990s. More importantly, our viewer may never even consider writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper or to the FCC. A complete media ecosystem can be created and sustained through social interaction using tools that social media provide. Mainstream media may still play a role, of course, but they do not have to be involved like in the past. This follows what new-media scholar and NYU professor Clay Shirky Clay Shirky, a writer, consultant, and NYU calls a “publish, then filter” model.6 Traditional media industries such as professor, examines the social and economic news are based on a “filter, then publish” model of information. From a vast effects of Internet technologies. universe of possible information, specialists or professionals (editors, music producers, etc.) select their content, making decisions based partly on the limitations of their medium, such as time limits in TV news or space limits in print media. This material—the news in a newspaper or the bands promoted by a major record label or MTV—is then distributed to the general public. The public is likely completely unaware of all the other possible types of information it could have received. Media business models have been built on this way of controlling and disseminating information, and even entire professions have made this model an essential part of their professional identities. An example is journalism, commonly described as necessary for a healthy democracy because of its role in informing the public and monitoring the government. Journalists function as gatekeepers, professionals with special access to the halls of power and unique skills and training that presumably give them the ability to decide what information should be disseminated to the public. Yet, as seen in the “publish, then filter” model, prevalent in social media, many of these professional assumptions are being challenged, as are the business models. If the public can connect directly with the vast universe of information out there and find what is relevant through a combination of social networks, ratings systems, and online discussions, then what functions do organizations that restrict the flow of information to the public serve? This is not to say that traditional mass media are no longer important or powerful. The media serve an important agenda-setting function in that they pro  agenda setting vide us with much of the material that we talk about, even if they do not necessarily Media’s role in deciding which tell us what to think. The media also tend to amplify events through their covertopics to cover and consequently which topics the public deems age because they generally have larger audiences than the majority of social media important and worthy of sites, even though traditional media audiences continue to fragment. In addition, discussion. much of what is talked about on social media derives from entertainment or news content created and distributed by traditional media organizations.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Consider the traditional “filter, then publish” model and the “publish, then filter” model. What do you think are some of the biggest weaknesses of each type? Can you think of certain types of media that may be better suited to one type over the other? Why?

SOCIAL PRODUCTION Another fundamental difference with traditional media is the collaborative aspect of social media that threatens established media business models used throughout much of the twentieth century and into this one. Most people cannot afford to start a newspaper or create a radio or television station. Digital media and the Internet greatly reduce costs for creating and distributing media content widely, to the point that they are well within the reach of many. Collaborative, or participatory, media trace their roots to the free and   free and open-source software movement (FOSS) open-source software (FOSS) movement. This type of participatory or social production contrasts sharply with the standard profit-making business models A movement that wants software that rely more heavily on proprietary licensing agreements and intellectual to be freely available and the source code open to anyone to ­property protections to protect products. To understand the difference, think make modifications and ­LibreOffice versus Microsoft Office or Wikipedia versus Encyclopaedia Britannica. improvements. As the name suggests, the FOSS movement wants software to be freely available and the source code open to anyone to make modifications and improvements. Although not always free in the sense of “no cost,” this movement was informed by a strong spirit of keeping the information freely available to anyone and letting everyone share in the benefits. Commonsense theories of human behavior suggested that nobody would work hard on a project to only have others benefit greatly from it. Yet without the collaborative efforts of a good number of computer programmers and engineers committed to sharing information and knowledge freely, the backbone of the Internet would not exist. No company would have spent the resources to create the structure needed, especially when there was no clear way to profit from it. The open-source model did indeed work. The Apache web server program, the Linux operating system, and the LibreOffice software suite are all open-source developments that continue to play significant roles in computing today. Some countries have adopted ­LibreOffice for all government agencies, a mandate that raises the distinct possibility that other institutions will follow suit to diminish compatibility issues. Computing and media companies operating with mass-­ communication business models are not sitting idly by, however, while a new and different media ecosystem based on collaboration, interaction, and sharing emerges. Some companies have incorporated open-source software into their own product lines. IBM experienced a larger and swifter increase in revenues than expected Social media have altered the power dynamic between consumers and producers. Consumers can now force a after switching to Linux. Oracle simply purchased the MySQL data- response from companies when they review or complain base system, reneging on a promise to keep it truly open source. about a company’s products.

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Microsoft chose to compete more head-to-head with LibreOffice’s predecessor OpenOffice, offering libraries and other public institutions free computers— loaded with Microsoft software, of course. Open-source software, which allows The success of the open-source model also raised the question that if it works anyone to access its source code and is for software, then why can’t it work for entertainment, journalism, advertising, often free, demonstrates how successful social production can be. public relations—or any kind of content and knowledge production? CollaboraCRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: Do tion on such an unprecedented scale is seen with projects such as Wikipedia in you favor open-source software models part because of our powerful and cheap computers. Large-scale projects can be such as LibreOffice? Had you developed the software yourself and had a broken down into small components, making them easy for people to do and alproprietary interest in it, would your lowing individuals to contribute when and how they choose. opinion differ? In what is called distributed computing, any number of volunteers can assist a project without inconveniencing themselves because the program works   distributed computing in the background. The free computing power amassed through the various users Individual, autonomous computers is much greater than any research project could afford. The website also informs that work together toward a people of progress, thereby engaging the public in a field they might otherwise common goal, typically a large, have ignored. Examples of projects using the power of distributed-computing netcomplex project that requires more computing power than that of any works include seeking cures for diseases such as cancer, working on models of individual computer. global warming, using protein-folding programs to test for new drug combinations, and even searching for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). We see this culture of collaboration and openness in a range of media production today, ranging from crowdsourced news sites to reviews of everything from movies to restaurants to consumer products. Mainstream media companies encourage citizen reporting, letting the public send raw video footage or photographs from breaking news events, which may be aired after being vetted by editors and a show’s producers. We also see a combination of nonmarket principles of collaboration with market forces in crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter (see the Media Pioneers box in Chapter 4). People propose projects or goals and ask the community to donate money to their cause. If the financial goals are met within the allotted time, then the project is funded. Its creators often inform the funder community of progress and sometimes give them samples of the finished project, such as a video or CD. This gradual change in our online culture, in the ways we freely help each other or simply use our computers to advance the general common Distributed computing combines the excess computing power of many computers good, demonstrates how technological and ecoto perform operations that not even supercomputers could perform alone. nomic factors have altered our assumptions about people acting selfishly or not helping others.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Have you ever made a decision to see a movie, buy music or a book, or go to a particular restaurant based on user reviews? If so, do you think that you have an ethical obligation to also contribute reviews that could guide others? Why or why not?

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What Is “Social” About Social Media? Cultural norms may have changed, but media have always had a social component. From the earliest days of print, people read aloud and in groups. In the 1930s and 1940s, families congregated around the radio to listen to their favorite programs; and people came together to listen to music, dance, and socialize. Even television, a medium maligned as passive and isolating, often has important social aspects, as families and friends get together to watch and discuss shows and sporting events. Some of HBO’s most popular original series, such as The Sopranos, generated what became known as “water-cooler buzz,” or discussions among workers about a show the day after it aired, which in turn created more interest among people who hadn’t seen the show. How are social media more “social” than traditional media? This is an important question. If traditional media are no less social than what is being touted as a revolutionary, transformative new kind of media, then it would follow that Web 2.0 and all the talk about it is just the latest hype about new technology. The Center for Social Media in the School of Communication at American ­University identifies five fundamental areas in which people’s media habits are changing: choice, conversation, curation, creation, and collaboration.7 These five components provide an excellent framework for understanding social media better.

CHOICE The public has far more media choices than in the past and far more options of media styles and genres than ever before. Even so, thinking of the public or audience primarily as passive consumers of media ignores the variety of ways people can interact and find the media content they want. Through search engines, recommendations from friends (often known only from online interactions), RSS feeds, and, of course, traditional media channels, people today are generally more proactive in getting the type of content they want. Note that “more choice” does not necessarily mean “better quality.” Simply because there are many more options does not mean that the quality of content people may find is going to be better. Greater choice, however, does mean that more media types and channels are competing with each other to attract the attention of the audience. This alters the production, promotion, and marketing of media and even what types of content may be created in the first place.

CONVERSATION From the earliest days of the Internet, conversation was important, and it continues to be a defining characteristic of social media. Discussion groups, Usenet, email, IM, and Twitter have been or continue to be important tools that enable people to communicate easily with each other on a scale and in ways not possible with traditional media. Companies have had their reputations tarnished or enhanced because of online conversations, unknown artists have become famous through them, and funny or embarrassing moments caught on a video recording have made some people instant (if short-lived) celebrities.

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Comcast has learned the hard way about the power of social media. In 2006, a  customer posted a video on YouTube of a Comcast technician sleeping in the ­customer’s home while waiting on hold—with Comcast—for over an hour. In 2008, Comcast was ranked at the bottom of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, and hundreds of customers contributed their complaints to the website ­ As part of its efforts to improve customer service, Comcast started monitoring blogs and online conversations and discussing customer concerns directly in the online forums. Many companies follow online discussions about themselves, but Comcast took an extra step in often responding to bloggers and engaging in conversation with them. Today, their actions are considered a prime example of a company improving through listening to its customers. Many companies have discovered that their brands and corporate images are not what they claim in traditional advertising or public relations efforts but what the customers say they are. The focus on conversation is one other example of the shift from a lecture to a dialog between companies (including media companies) and the public.

CURATION With so many options available today, how can people find the kind of media content they like? The traditional gatekeepers of information and knowledge, such as media professionals and librarians, are finding their roles changing in the social media environment. One major change is a shift from a “gatekeeping” model to what Australian media scholar Axel Bruns calls a “gatewatching” model in which people act as their own filters, classifiers, and reviewers.   tagging Classifying content happens through an activity such as tagging or creating Using searchable keywords to folksonomies of definitions. This helps bring some order to the vast array of condefine a piece of information, file, tent out there, and it helps in searches. An important difference in tagging is that image, or other type of digital media in a nonhierarchical system. people are not waiting to hear from an authority on how to classify terms, such as a librarian would do—they are doing it themselves. Sites such as Instagram, Flickr,   folksonomies Facebook, and YouTube have all encouraged tagging among users, which makes the content more searchable and helps users recognize relations among terms Collection of tags created by users that provide metadata (data about they may never have seen before. data) regarding information. News aggregation site Reddit is an example of how curatorial activities can enhance a site’s relevance for everyone. Users vote either positively or negatively on stories that have been submitted, and stories with the highest percentage of positive votes get pushed to the front page. This creates a natural hierarchy of content, where typically material deemed most relevant or interesting to the Reddit community becomes more visible to other users of the site, even if they do not vote on stories themselves. The online environment lends itself to a curatorial mode of contributing to the social media space. It is fairly easy to tag something with terms, or to write a one-­ paragraph review of a book or movie, or to write a few lines about a product recently purchased. It is also much easier to find, and publicize, fault with something. Online reviews have become increasingly important in consumers’ decisions on items ranging from household Reddit users participate by voting for or against stories, pushing the most goods to media products. popular content to the front page of the site.

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CREATION The digital-media tools that facilitate the creation of content have played a major role in the rise of user-generated media content. Cheaper communication technologies allow more people to create media, whether it is the printing press in Renaissance Europe or the high-speed Internet in the twenty-first century. The ability to distribute content cheaply and easily to a mass audience, along with the chance to interact with others, is probably the most crucial aspect of how the Internet is transforming mass communication. Without this ability, the media landscape today would look vastly different. It could even be said that social media as we know them now would not exist. Simply because the tools are readily available to create media does not, of course, mean that everyone will start producing great works of art. Most people, in fact, will be satisfied consuming media and not creating anything, and there will be far more amateurish or poor-quality content online than high art. Yet even if only a small percentage of the people online create and share content, the pool of media content will be larger than that in the traditional media world because of the sheer numbers of people online. Creating content is not without its challenges. As noted elsewhere in this book, intellectual property laws are being challenged by a digital culture that sees nothing wrong with borrowing freely from existing media to create something new. Furthermore, many people online have come to expect a variety of media content for free. Rather than encourage creativity, as intellectual property laws were meant to do, more restrictive laws may have the opposite effect by removing creative material from the public domain. Nevertheless, content creators should be compensated for their work.

COLLABORATION The willingness to collaborate on a common good for no personal monetary gain is perhaps one of the biggest surprises one encounters when examining social media. It is one thing to spend hours creating an app with the hopes of copyrighting it for licensing or offering it for money, but quite another to do so and provide it to the Web community for free use or to provide open access to your project and invite others to work on and improve it. A number of cases of collaboration extend from the online realm to offline, especially in organizing people around politics or social movements. In fact, the most successful uses of online tools in political campaigns have included ample opportunities for people to socialize in real-world settings as well. This was the lesson the Howard Dean campaign learned in 2004 from looking at Al Gore’s failed presidential campaign in 2000. Gore’s campaign used online media primarily as another media channel, asking for donations and alerting users about issues and appearances. Dean used online tools to encourage supporters to get together in person and act, generating millions of dollars for his campaign in the process. Although Dean eventually dropped out of the presidential race, Obama’s presidential campaigns applied and further refined these lessons. In recent years, organizations such as Sunlight Labs and Code for America have partnered with government agencies and other organizations to host civic hackathons, bringing coders and others together to work jointly on finding solutions to common government problems. One example of this is Boston’s Citizens Connect app, which

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Civic hackathons, in which coders and others gather over one or two days to work on computing solutions for government or civic issues, have become increasingly popular in recent years.

lets Boston residents easily report various civic issues such as potholes and track the progress of the problems getting fixed. In some ways, the realization that people need real-world socializing to complement their online socializing harkens back to the earliest days of social media, long before that term was applied. In fact, the need to meet, interact, and discuss was an impetus for the earliest online communities, many of which are precursors to today’s social media tools and are still widely used today.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which of the five ways in which our media use is changing (choice, creation, curation, conversation, or collaboration) do you think is the most important? Why?

Types of Social Media

Smartphones and tablets have made it easy for people to keep up with social media or online news at all times.

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In 1980, France launched its videotext service, text delivery over the air or by cable for presentation on television screens or other electronic displays, known then as Teletel and later as Minitel. Ahead of its time, Minitel was one of the most successful, early interactive online information services before the Web. Minitel worked because the government subsidized it and provided every home with an access device. Its biggest problem turned out to be the emergence of the World Wide Web, which quickly outclassed the stand-alone Minitel communication terminals. Despite these drawbacks, there were still 10 million Minitel users in 2009, yet France Telecom finally closed the Minitel service in June 2012. Many of the tools we now commonly associate with social media were used before social media became an Internet phenomenon. Even the pre-Web Minitel had what it called its “blue rooms,” adult-oriented chat rooms, the only part of the

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Social Networks of Influential Languages Just like people, it turns out that languages can also be mapped via social networking principles to reveal which networks are the most extensive and most important. In social networks, a hub is someone or something that has many other connections to others, essentially acting as a communications or information focal point. One study on the influence of various languages that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers at MIT, Harvard, Northeastern University, and Aix-Marseille University looked at three separate communication networks: books, tweets, and Wikipedia articles. They examined the output of all three networks done in various languages and mapped their translations to other languages to determine which tended to be most translated, thus reaching more people. It is perhaps no surprise that English was a central hub, making it the best language to spread your message to other languages in all three networks, even though it is only the third most widely spoken native language, with 5 percent of the global population. A few other languages, such as French, Spanish, Russian, and German, worked as intermediate-level hubs in much the same way as English, except on a smaller scale. This means that even though the actual number of native speakers of some of these languages may be relatively small, books, tweets, and Wikipedia articles tended to get translated to and from these languages at a disproportionately high rate.

Chinese, Hindi, and Arabic—which combined have nearly a quarter of the world’s population of native speakers—all had fewer connections in the networking map, meaning works written in these languages got translated to and from other languages far less than the number of native speakers would otherwise indicate.

What does this mean for native English speakers studying a foreign language? At least in terms of tapping into global conversations and knowledge and spreading your message, it may be better to study a language such as Spanish or German than Chinese or Arabic.

service that generated a significant revenue stream. The use of modern social media grew significantly with Web-related advances that facilitated creating and sharing content. Other differences include the rapid growth of the Web audience and the increase in broadband Internet connections that enhance user experience. Wireless Internet capabilities have also expanded access to social media. Here, we will look specifically at how some social media tools have developed and been used over time. In most cases, people have found ways to subvert the tools to their own ends, making the service less useful for everyone. In response, communities have created social norms and rules of behavior along with punishments for transgressions.

EMAIL Email, or electronic mail, was one of the first uses of the Internet and until 2008 was the most popular Internet activity. In 2010, email moved down to third place,

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following social-networking sites and online gaming.8 Email can be overlooked as an element of social media, but its ease of use, prevalence, and capacity to send messages to more than one person make it a powerful communication tool. Although email is an exchange of messages via telecommunication between two people, an individual can easily create a mailing list and send out a single message to multiple people, in a sense broadcasting the message. This capability has caused more than a few red faces, as anyone can attest who has been on a mailing list in which one member made disparaging remarks about another member, thinking the response was going only to an individual and not to the entire list. Mailing lists differ from discussion boards in that messages posted get sent directly to subscribers’ email inboxes rather than to an online location that a member must visit to read the messages. Listservs are automated mailing-list   listservs administrators that allow for easy subscription, cancellation, and delivery of Automated mailing-list emails to subscribers. Many organizations use them to keep their customers or administrators that allow for easy subscription, cancellation, and supporters informed of the organization’s activities or special deals. delivery of emails to subscribers. The principles that allow for easy creation of mailing lists are also responsible for what many consider the scourge of email—spam, unsolicited email advertis  spam ing. Spam, once rare and considered extremely bad form in the early days of the Unwanted mass emailing from Internet, is now all too common. Computer programs comb the Internet and find advertisers. email addresses on websites and social media, “harvesting” them to a central location that a spammer can then use to send messages or sell the list of emails to other companies. A battle continues between spammers and companies creating software to block spam. Automated filtering software often removes much of the spam but may also inadvertently remove desired messages. Spam clogging the Internet and inboxes reflects the downside of being able to share content easily. Lowered costs of distribution on the Internet have helped create online communities and given the public a chance to distribute media content on a par with established media companies, but it has also made it easier for individuals and companies to abuse that distribution system, making it less valuable for all. Legislators are fighting back, however, with increasingly stringent antispam laws that penalize spammers. The antispam legislation and better spam-blocking software seem to have had an effect. In 2010, an estimated 78 percent of all emails sent were spam. In 2014, 64 percent of all emails sent were spam, according to Symantec, with over half consisting of sex and dating topics and nearly 40 percent on pharmaceutical topics. Because of improved antispam technology, most spam gets blocked before reaching our inboxes. Spain is the Although spam remains a problem, clogging inboxes and costing number-one source of sent spam, followed by the companies millions of dollars, antispam technologies and laws have United States, the previous spam leader, according to reduced the amount of spam in recent years. Symantec.

DISCUSSION BOARDS AND WEB FORUMS Today, most online discussions boards are on Web-based forums that provide a variety of user-friendly tools to create and post discussions. Users can easily

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follow conversational threads on different topics or search for archived material. The precursor to Web forums was Usenet, created in 1979, which even today provides thousands of discussion boards, each separated by categories called newsgroups. Members of Usenet, the first file-sharing service, posted files to a newsgroup to share with subscribers, group members who could then download and save the files on their computers. Usenet has decreased in popularity, especially with the rise of the Web and the association of the service with pornographers, who used it to send large files. Several Internet service providers (ISPs) either have blocked Usenet servers entirely or allow access only to certain newsgroups within the major categories. Despite its decline in popularity, Usenet presaged many of the principles seen today in social media, including decentralized servers, encouraging communication between users, and enabling users to find others with similar interests in niche categories. Discussion boards are a vital form of mass communication on the Internet. Their format and asynchronous nature (i.e., not requiring users to be online at the same time) allow for relatively lengthy expositions on topics written whenever convenient for the person sending the message. They also provide value even to members who do not post messages but simply read what others are writing, a practice called lurking. Some discussion-board creators encourage newcomers to lurk for a while to become familiar with the tone and type of topics before posting messages of their own. Because public discussion boards are easily searchable on the Web, they provide useful information on a range of specialized topics. People with similar questions can find helpful advice on any number of issues long after the initial discussions take place. One of the earliest online communities, created through discussion groups, is still thriving today. The WELL (Whole Earth ’Lectronic Link) began in 1985 and continues to promote high-quality and interesting discussions among its members, many of whom are noted intellectuals, artists, authors, and creative thinkers. The WELL’s policy of requiring real names rather than user names has, according to some, enhanced discussion and fostered a strong sense of community among its members. Now owned by the Salon Media Group, publisher of Salon magazine, it charges members $15 a month, one of the few online communities that has successfully charged members simply for discussions.


  Usenet One of the earliest discussion forums in use today in which participants discuss topics in categories called newsgroups.

  lurking Only reading what others write in online discussion boards but not contributing to the discussions.

CHAT ROOMS Like discussion groups, chat rooms are usually divided by topic, ranging from highly technical computer issues to pop stars to sex. Chat rooms differ from instant messaging, which also takes place in real time, in that instant messaging usually involves an online conversation between two people or a few at most. Because chat rooms are synchronous, occurring in real time, media organizations can use them to promote special guests online and let the audience “speak” to them, much like a radio station having a musician visit and take listeners’ calls. Chat rooms are not without their own unique communication problems. They can often be chaotic, much like trying to talk to someone across the room at a crowded, noisy party. It can be difficult to tell who is being addressed, although some chat rooms have general rules and guidelines posted for proper behavior. Although messages may be sent in real time, the fact that they must be typed inevitably slows down the give-and-take that occurs during spoken conversations. Some chatters can monopolize the conversation as well or repeatedly post the

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  instant messaging Often abbreviated IM, a form of real-time communication through text typed over a computer network.

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  scrolling Simply repeating the same message in a chat room, which quickly draws the ire of other participants.

same message, a practice called scrolling, which quickly draws the ire of other chatters in the room. The video instant messaging service Snapchat, launched in 2011, has become very popular, with an estimated 700 million videos and photos sent each day, according to Snapchat. The unique characteristic of Snapchat is the automatic deletion of photos and videos after recipient viewing.

BLOGS AND MICROBLOGS Blogs, or weblogs, are an individual’s web pages of short, frequently updated postings arranged chronologically, much like a series of diary entries or journal pages. Short for weblog, a type of website Blogs can contain thoughts, links to sites of interest, rants, or whatever the blogin which a person posts regular journal or diary entries, with the ger wants to write about. The earliest blogs go back to 1994, although technologiposts arranged chronologically. cal limitations made it more cumbersome to update posts then. The role that technology plays in social media is clearly evident with the rise of blogs. Not until 1999 did blogs start increasing in popularity, largely due to new software tools that made blogging easier and did not require knowledge of HTML code or programming., created in 1999 and bought by Google in 2003, is one such tool that makes creating, posting, and sharing a blog easy even for nontechnical people. WordPress is another very popular blogging platform that offers free blog hosting. Some blogs, such as BoingBoing and the Huffington Post, have readerships in the millions and an ­influential agenda-setting function much like mainstream media. When a blog becomes popular and ­attracts many readers, responding to most of the comments or discussions becomes impossible for David Karp founded the popular microblog site Tumblr, which has surpassed the blogger. In this way, blogs tend to develop the WordPress in popularity and was purchased by Yahoo in 2013. characteristics of traditional broadcasting or publishing models of information or news. News organizations were slow to adopt blogs as part of their media offerings, seeing them as a threat or something that might detract from their credibility. In 2002, Steve Olafson, a longtime journalist for the Houston Chronicle, was fired for having a pseudonymous blog in which he criticized local politicians. Today, many big news organizations operate blogs and expect their reporters or columnists to blog regularly. Although the blog’s element of authenticity is vital to conversation or true dialog, its raw, honest, and unfiltered quality often becomes problematic in the business world. Excessively polished blogs or those that simply repeat public relations platitudes are unlikely to generate respect or develop a following. Adopting a more natural, conversational tone with the public and responding to their comments have been difficult for companies accustomed to carefully controlling their public messages. Blogs have also moved from their text roots to include video, audio, and multimedia, an example of how users are creating content by mixing and matching different media types to make something new. Blogs also play an important curatorial role, as some become popular because the blogger finds the best and most   blog

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compelling ideas and makes relevant comments about that content, which helps the blog’s readers find information of interest to them and to understand it within a larger context. As their name suggests, microblogs work much the same way as blogs, but the format and technology encourage shorter posts and content. Today, perhaps the most popular microblog is Twitter, which allows only 140 characters to be sent at a time, or tweeted. Launched in July 2006, Twitter has 302 million active users with 500 million tweets sent per day.9 Many people have started using Twitter as a kind of curatorial news service, following people who tend to find new or interesting stories. Some studies have shown that only about 10 percent of Twitter users contribute over 90 percent of the content.10 That a relatively small percentage of people contribute a disproportionate amount of content is important to remember when considering how media-usage habits are changing. Just because the audience can now create and distribute content easily does not mean everyone will—the vast majority of people seem perfectly happy as consumers of media content. Tumblr, another popular microblogging service, allows for easy uploads of text and multimedia content. Founded in 2007, the name derives from “tumble­ logs,” the original term used for microblogs before the latter name became more widely used. In May 2013, Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion; in May 2015, Tumblr hosted over 237 million blogs and over 111 billion posts, surpassing popular blogging platform WordPress.11 Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo (“weibo” means microblog in Chinese), founded in 2009, has been likened to a Chinese version of Twitter, even though it functions more like a Twitter/Facebook hybrid. Although still popular, with over 500 million users, it has suffered because of competition from free messaging and voicemail service WeChat, launched in 2011, which quickly gained nearly 300 ­million users and continues to rise in popularity.12 Many of the most popular social-networking sites offer microblogging services as well, although these are often called something like “status updates.” Regardless of the name used, updating friends in your social network while out and about is essentially a type of microblogging.

WIKIS Wikis have become more widely known, thanks to the phenomenal success of Wikipedia, the collaborative encyclopedia created entirely by volunteers that quickly came to rival the scope and accuracy of established encyclopedias. Like most of today’s social media tools, the roots of wikis go back much further. A wiki, which means “quick” or “speedy” in Hawaiian, is essentially a web page that anyone can edit. In 1994, Ward Cunningham created the first wiki, WikiWikiWeb, designed for easy sharing of information among computer programmers. He took his wiki public in 1995 and asked developers to improve on it. In 2001, Wikipedia used a version of a wiki system for its new encyclopedia that encouraged anyone to contribute and edit. This was a drastic change from traditional encyclopedias, the epitome of the gatekeeper media model of authoritative, unidirectional communication to a silent and passive audience. Today, a variety of wikis are used for different purposes, especially in education. Corporate wikis encourage knowledge sharing among groups, especially when offices are far apart. One important aspect of wikis is the ability to see the

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Wikipedia is an excellent example of what can be created online by many people collaborating for free.

  wiki Website that lets anyone add, edit, or delete pages and content.

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Jack Dorsey A century and a half after Samuel Morse’s initial telegraph transmission—What hath God wrought?—Twitter and its 30-year-old creator, Jack Dorsey, would tweet “just setting up my twttr” “inviting coworkers.” And thus a radical one-tomany communication medium was launched that would crisscross the globe in ways the one-to-one telegraph system never could, yet in a similarly concise textual form. Almost as fast as you could tweet “The Next Big Thing,” Twitter was it. Social media quickly embraced downsized expression of 140 characters or less, immediate and entertaining status updates from close friends and distant celebrities, as well as more serious broadcasts from journalists, politicians, activists, and even revolutionaries. Elegantly simplified responses to complex problems characterize Dorsey’s pioneering achievements. When, for example, an artisan friend lost a $2,000 sale because his small business could not justify the costs associated with credit card transactions, Dorsey conceived of and created a tiny card swipe reader that could plug into an iPhone or iPad, instantly making any small operation capable of meeting the costs of handling such sales. This concept and device formed the basis for Square, his foray into the world of seamless retail transactions. Dorsey, described by one colleague as “a first-rate strategist, a first-rate designer, and a first-rate technologist”13 and by another as “a technologist with the soul of an artist,”14 is a dynamic entrepreneur with a holistic concern for his staff and for society. Operating in downtown San Francisco, he has led coworkers on excursions through the city during the

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day. Not merely a stroll by places of interest, these Friday outings became a commitment to cleaner streets, a project announced in this tweet from Jack: “Tomorrow morning at 11a Pacific we’re going out & picking up trash for 30 minutes. Join us (equipment provided): 5th & Natoma. #cleanstreets.”15

Dorsey’s efforts to make our public communication more democratic, our business transactions more efficient, and our world cleaner will no doubt extend beyond his enterprises with Twitter and Square. In 2013, he joined the board of directors for the Walt Disney Company, and he has also expressed a desire to be mayor of New York City someday.

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editing history of any particular page and to revert to an earlier version if needed. This function keeps an automatic archive of editing changes identifiable by users. In combination with discussion or talk pages associated with each article, it provides a ready way for participants to discuss and debate points. What would seem like a major weakness of wikis—the freedom for anyone to change any content on a page at any time—has actually turned out to be their strength. Low barriers to creating content or adding special expertise a user may have make participation easy. Although not without its share of trolls, people who purposely vandalize Wikipedia entries by inserting false or nonsensical information, the Wikipedia community has shown a remarkable ability to police the vast and growing content on the site. Wikipedia has been able to avoid major disruptions of vandals, thanks partly to technology but mostly to the norms and rules the Wikipedia community has created over time, an example par excellence of how collaborative work and social media transform media audiences and operate on principles different from traditional media economic models. Nevertheless, Wikipedia has had growth pains. In August 2009, it announced the need for more restrictive editing rules and page “lock” or “protect” to prevent further editing, a move away from its original freewheeling days. Even earlier, Wikipedia had blocked any changes from ISPs originating from either house of Congress because politicians’ aides were continually changing politicians’ entries to make them look better, breaking the Wikipedia community norm of neutral point of view (NPOV).

SOCIAL-NETWORKING SITES The various social-networking sites have become perhaps the most visible face of social media. What distinguishes these sites from other types of social media is that in some manner they show users connections in their social network.16 The ability to visualize and share one’s social network while allowing others to tap into that map by contacting other people in the network has become an incredibly powerful tool. Although today Facebook or LinkedIn seem to get all the attention, the first social-networking sites were actually created several years before, and some are still around., founded in 1995, and SixDegrees, starting in 1997 and closing in 2001, are two early examples of social-networking sites. Classmates .com, as its name suggests, focuses primarily on putting people back in touch with former classmates from college, high school, or even grade school. Reconnecting with old friends or creating friendships has proven to be a powerful force for establishing social-networking sites. Friendster, launched in 2002, was the first social-networking site with features similar to those of Facebook and LinkedIn. With the rise of MySpace and, later, Facebook, the popularity of Friendster rapidly waned in the United States but remained strong in Asia. Relaunched as a social-gaming website under new ownership in 2011, Friendster is still popular in some Southeast Asian countries. The case of MySpace shows just how chaotic the business of social-networking sites can be and how easy it is to lose the trust of users when not considering the audience. Launched in 2003, MySpace became the most popular social-networking

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Forbes ranked the cofounder, chairman, and CEO of Facebook number 16 on their 2015 list of billionaires. Mark Zuckerburg’s net worth at that time was $35.4 billion.

site in 2006, only to lose that position in 2008 to Facebook. In 2005, News Corp. purchased MySpace and its parent company, Intermix Media, for $580 million. In June 2011, News Corp. sold MySpace for $35 million—a fraction of its original value—to Justin Timberlake and Specific Media, an advertising network. In midJune 2013, MySpace launched a new version of the site, deleting without warning all the material users had on the old version of MySpace. This raised a huge outcry among users, many of whom had lost years of messages with past loved ones, blog entries, and games that they had purchased on the site. In late 2003, Facebook began as a project within Harvard University called Face-mash, a version of the website Hot or Not. It launched as a social-networking site under its current name but available only to Harvard students in early 2004. A few months later it opened to other Ivy League schools and then expanded to include all college students. The next year, it accepted high school students and then companies; and in 2006, it opened to anyone thirteen or older, rapidly overtaking MySpace as the most popular social-networking site thanks to these

S O C I A L- N E T W O R K I N G S I T E S




AsianAvenue and BlackPlanet are created to target specific communities.

1995 launches to help users find friends from school, work, and the military.



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A social circles network, SixDegrees opens but closes four years later.


Networking continues to specialize with the launch of LinkedIn (a professional site), Couchsurfing (a hospitality exchange site), and MySpace (a social site focused on music). Friendster turns down a $30 million buyout offer from Google, considered one of the biggest blunders in Silicon Valley.

Originally conceived as a social networking site, once-popular Friendster becomes a social gaming platform in 2011 after experiencing a decline in most markets. Created in Malaysia, it remains popular in Southeast Asia.

YouTube enters the video-sharing competition. Ning is founded, allowing users to create custom social networks. Facebook expands to include high school networks. News Corp. buys MySpace, a hugely popular site with young people, for $580 million.


Facebook is created for Harvard students. Animal-themed Dogster and Catster become available. Orkut, owned and operated by Google, opens but closes ten years later. Image and video hosts Flickr and Vimeo launch.


Text-based Twitter launches. Facebook opens to corporate networks in early 2006 and to everyone late in the year. Google buys YouTube for $1.65 billion.

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expansions. By March 2015, Facebook claimed to have 1.44 billion active monthly users worldwide, which makes it the largest social-networking site in the world. Facebook’s rapid rise in popularity led to frequent media reports of potential buyouts from larger media companies, such as Microsoft. Despite these reports, Facebook launched its initial public offering (IPO) in May 2012, the largest in Internet history, valued at its peak at $104 billion. Although Facebook remains the most popular social-networking site, two different reports in 2014 caused some alarm at Facebook and among investors. Both reports stated that fewer teens were using Facebook than in previous years, down to 88 percent in 2014 from 95 percent in 2012.17 Most companies would not worry about such a small dip, especially with so many users, but some wonder if the decline could be the beginning of a long-term trend in which the coveted teen market moves elsewhere for their social-networking needs. The launch of Google+ in June 2011 was Google’s effort to compete with ­Facebook. Despite Google’s dominance as a search engine and its growing number



Ello launches, designed as an alternative to sites that advertise and that sell user data, particularly Facebook, which claims 2.2 billion users worldwide in July.


Facebook tops 1 billion users.


Local search and discovery mobile app Foursquare launches.

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Google’s fourth socialnetworking effort, Google+, becomes available.


Pinterest launches, allowing users to share images, known as pins; Snapchat launches, allowing users to share photos or videos, known as snaps. MySpace sells for an estimated $35 million, 6 percent of its purchase price in 2005.


Facebook overtakes MySpace in Alexa rankings as MySpace membership continues to decline.


Acquired by microblogger Twitter, short-form video service Vine launches. Free mobile app Yik Yak becomes available, allowing users to create and respond to anonymous “yaks” within a ten-mile radius.

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of online services, Google+ remains far behind in terms of active users, with only about 9 percent of Google+’s 2.2 billion profiles having posted anything on Google+, according to one analyst.18 Many other social-networking sites have sprung up since 2003, some focusing on professional interests, such as LinkedIn; topic interests, such as Dogster; media or image sharing, such as Pinterest, Flickr, and Instagram; and location-based interests, such as Foursquare and Loopt. Launched in late 2014 with ninety people on its network, Ello, whose manifesto promises never to sell advertising or user data, claimed less than a year later to have millions of followers. Some have described Ello as the anti-Facebook, a moniker supported by the defection of many

  Most Popular Social-Networking Sites*

Table 7-1 RANK























Source: eBizMBA, *As of May 1, 2015

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Are We Really Separated by Six Degrees? We’ve all met someone with whom we realized we share a coincidental mutual friend or a similar experience, such as attending the same school or belonging to the same fraternity or sorority. For scientists who study social networks, these amazing coincidences are precisely what make social networks important. The number and type of our social connections can greatly affect our opportunities in life. If we have a robust social network of people who likewise have robust social networks (not identical to ours), then we are better able reach people in those other networks through our friends. For example, if I want a publisher to consider my novel, knowing an editor at the publishing house who can recommend the manuscript may help it get serious attention. A popular pop-culture theory claims that everybody in the world is connected by no more than six degrees, or six links in a network. The number of connections or links between you and the U.S. president is theoretically no more than six. The notion that everyone in the world is separated by no more than six degrees gained public attention through a “small world” experiment conducted by psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1950s. Milgram sent copies of letters to people in the Midwest and asked them to send the letter to the person they thought would most likely be able to forward it to a certain lawyer living in Boston. Out of the forty-two letters that reached the lawyer’s home, the average number of links was nearly six, although the range was quite large.

Although Milgram never used the term “six degrees of separation,” it was popularized in a 1984 play of the same name that also referenced his experiment. The notion became even more widespread with “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” a game that calculates the degrees of separation of various actors from Kevin Bacon. This can easily be done through the Oracle of Kevin Bacon website, which uses the Internet Movie Database as its source. Surprisingly, even long-dead actors are connected with Kevin Bacon or with famous people who are not professional actors but who have appeared in documentaries or movies. This makes sense if you consider the actors gathered on a movie set as a small world, a social network of tight connections, people who get to know one another while filming and then get to know a large number of other actors, who then go on to make other movies with different actors. Although finding an actor or actress separated from Bacon by more than even five degrees is difficult, he is actually not the most connected Hollywood actor. Both John ­Carradine and Robert Mitchum had far more connections than Bacon. If you know someone listed in the Internet Movie Database, then you can see that person’s Bacon number and simply add one more (your link to that person) to see how closely connected you are to Kevin Bacon.

  six degrees of separation

members of the LGBT community from FB to Ello due to safety concerns about Facebook’s requirement for real names on user profiles. In addition to seeking out social news about friends on these networking sites, many seek out local and world news about events and issues. According to a 2014 Pew study, social media are reshaping news, especially on Facebook, a pathway to news for 30 percent of the general population, most commonly about entertainment. Sixty-two percent of Reddit users get news from the site, yet this translates to only 2 percent of the general population. (See Figure 7-1.) Users are less likely, though, to follow current events as they unfold on Facebook, unlike Twitter, where many turn for breaking news.

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Notion that everyone in the world is separated from all other individuals by at most six additional nodes in a social network.

  small world Tight-knit social network with many strong ties.

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  Social Media as a Pathway to News: Facebook Leads the Way figure 7-1

Percent of U.S. adults who use each social networking site and percent of U.S. adults who get news from each social networking site

64% Facebook 30%



Use site 51 Get news on site

YouTube 10







Google Plus

16 8

14 4


5 1



1 4 Tumblr

1 3



Note: The percent of U.S. adults who get news on Pinterest and Vine each amount to less than 1 percent. Aug. 21-Sept. 2, 2013 Source: "News Use Across Social Media Platforms," Pew Research Center, Washington, DC (November, 2013)

Pew also found that reading news on these sites does not necessarily promote sharing opinions about what was read. A 2014 Pew survey on social media and the spiral of silence, for example, discovered that people were less willing to discuss the NSA-Snowden story on the public forum of social media than in person. If, however, Facebook users felt their followers or online community agreed with their position, they were about twice as likely to join a FB discussion group on the topic.

Producers and Produsers Throughout most of the twentieth century, media companies used technology to address audiences as masses. How many viewers a television show could boast

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determined advertising rates. Magazine and newspaper ads were priced according to their circulation. Records and movies were made according to which ones would likely draw the biggest audiences or sales. It didn’t matter if most subscribers to a newspaper did not read the whole paper—in fact, there was no way to measure easily whether they even read it; claiming a certain circulation was enough. It was irrelevant if most of a television show’s viewing audience went to the refrigerator during commercials. All this began to change with the Internet and social media. Now companies could track audience behavior with more detail than ever before, all without installing special tracking devices, asking the audience to fill out forms or a keep a diary, or other intrusive measures. They could see what audiences were watching and doing when they interacted with media. Such tracking produced massive amounts of data and raised the problem of how to analyze such large data sets. This growth in big data has spawned entirely new businesses to tackle the data, figuring out what is relevant and what is not, and discovering ways to visualize and explain the data so that they can be used. What media companies saw when looking at the data did not make them happy. Nor did it make advertisers happy. A website could claim to get 2 million page views a month, but the same technology that let them state that with accuracy also told advertisers that only a fraction of 1 percent of the viewers clicked on their banner ads, and an even tinier portion acted as desired by buying a product from the advertiser’s website. Further, the kind of fragmentation of audiences already seen to some extent with the rise of specialized magazines and cable television channels accelerated with the Internet. Businesses that relied on mass audiences were now able to better watch their audiences, but unfortunately, they were watching those audiences shrink. Although many more media choices for people caused much of the audience fragmentation, at least part of it was also due to the fact that audience members could now talk to each other and create their own media content. Even worse, they could talk back to traditional media producers in a public forum such as the Web. That might help some shows become hits, but it also meant that negative sentiment from the public could keep potential viewers away. If audiences were active, then advertisers wanted to see the audience actually do something useful for them, like buying their products or at least visiting their websites or registering to get email newsletters. New technologies enabled companies to track and record all these kinds of activities, but they also created a need for new kinds of measurement metrics that could capture the dynamics of audience interaction more accurately. As discussed in Chapter 1, some of the biggest changes taking place among the three types of convergence have to do with how media are being used differently and the implications for media-company business models that assumed a passive audience. Traditional audiences were seen largely as passive consumers by the mass-media companies that created content to sell to them. The audience might consume media in the form of programs, books, or music, or buy products advertised through various media channels. Of course, people were not as passive as that relationship would indicate; but until the Internet, and especially social media, the chances for people to choose, create, and “talk back” to producers were extremely limited. Now, however, people have the tools to talk back, and many are doing so. What’s more, they are not only

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  big data A collection of data sets too large for traditional analytic techniques to sort, analyze, and visualize.

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talking back but simply ignoring the traditional producers and talking to each other. Audiences are shifting from simply being consumers of media content to what media scholar Axel Bruns calls produsers,19 although others use the term “prosumers” or just “users.” This complex relationship dynamic is not easily defined. “Prosumer” still seems to emphasize consumption, almost like a professional consumer or kind of über-­ consumer. Similarly, “user” does not capture the sense of creation or production, an important element of the social media landscape. Consumption in one form or another still predominates. Not everyone is (or wants to be) a producer of media content. But to contribute to the larger conversations taking place—to add something, however small, that helps create a greater whole—is easier than ever before. Posting a link to a worthwhile website or blog that others on a disMedia scholar Axel Bruns uses the term “produsers” to describe today’s audiences as both consumers and producers of media content. cussion board may have never heard of is a form of media production, collaboration, and knowledge sharing that should not be downplayed as nonproductive or unimportant, especially on a large   produsers scale. Audiences who no longer are Furthermore, people do not have to contribute to feel like they are part of a simply consumers but also produce community; it may be enough for many to see that others feel the way they do, content. connecting them to something larger. We see this sense of activism and community in some of the mass protests that have taken place, especially in countries such as Egypt during the Arab Spring. Social media help people realize there are others—sometimes many others—who share their thoughts and feelings while providing informal media channels to express views publicly and to organize actions.

REPUTATION, RATINGS, AND TRUST The change in audiences from consumers to produsers has had a powerful ripple effect, not only on business models but on many social factors. In the traditionalmedia world, we could rely on certain established brands to give us certain things. The Wall Street Journal or the New York Times delivered a kind of content that the National Enquirer did not, and we learned what to expect. Today, that has changed. Although the traditional brands still (for the most part) retain their meanings for us, it is more difficult than ever to determine whether to trust information from unknown sources. How do we know that the Amazon book review we are considering was not written by someone paid for a glowing assessment or by the author’s mother? How do we know that a Wikipedia entry about a prominent figure was not posted by some avid fan, highlighting only positive information and ignoring past scandals? How do we know that the blog about childhood diabetes is not the work of a pharmaceutical company trying to promote their drug? These and other issues are all extremely important in today’s media world; hence the importance of critical thinking and media literacy. Issues of trust and reputation become vital in figuring out what information we can believe. Ratings systems that rank the usefulness of a review or comment help us make that

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decision. But the question also arises whether the raters are trustworthy or not. This is where social networks can be useful, for we generally trust friends or people we have let into our social networks and are more likely to listen to what they say or recommend. This is one reason word-of-mouth marketing (or buzz marketing) has become so important for advertisers. Ratings systems as a measure of gauging trust will develop and become more important in our social media landscape, but some thorny ethical and legal questions have arisen as well. One big legal concern is figuring out who owns user-generated content on social media sites. If someone decides to write a book based on discussions taken from a site such as The WELL, using extended passages of actual discussions, is this a breach of copyright? How should the poster be compensated, if at all? Is permission needed to use the post or an excerpt of it? If so, how much is fair use and how much is an infringement of intellectual property? These are just some of the issues that social media sites will have to wrestle with in the future.


  word-of-mouth marketing Marketing that takes place among customers through discussions with one another.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What policies should be adopted regarding content on discussion forums? Should the people who post own the content they have posted, or should the site hosting the content own it—or should it be there for the taking by anyone? Explain your reasoning and identify who should be responsible for content that is libelous or potentially harmful.

PRIVACY Norms for privacy are also changing. For many people older than Millennials, making so much of one’s life public through posting photos, discussing one’s thoughts or desires on a blog, or sharing other highly personal information online feels strange. There is a sense that much of that is nobody else’s business or that information should be shared only with a select group of people one knows and trusts. This “living publicly” generally does not seem to bother Millennials, yet many feel their privacy has been invaded when they learn that an employer is raising questions about material found on a social-networking site. Most employers today do Google searches of job applicants and examine social-networking profiles if they can, making decisions about who will be called for an interview accordingly. Some potential employers even insist on access to applicants’ Facebook profiles. The goofy profile picture of you partying at your college may be hilarious to your friends on Facebook but not so amusing to a potential employer trying to gauge how you may represent the company. Facebook has landed in hot water frequently over its policies that invade users’ privacy or that threaten to do so. In 2012 Facebook revealed that more than 83 million of their accounts might be fake, news that apparently caused company stock to drop to new lows. In an effort to address this security issue (and presumably any attendant financial fallout), Facebook later began enforcing its policy of real names for user profiles to promote identity “authenticity,” deactivating accounts with names they deemed fake. Unfortunately, this did not make the FB community safer for all its members. To the contrary, this move heightened the dangers for individuals in certain vulnerable or at-risk groups who rely on anonymity for security, most notably the LGBT community and survivors of domestic

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abuse. Some Native Americans argued this policy has also hurt them, resulting in the deactivation of accounts with real or legal names that did not appear to meet Facebook standards. A program launched in 2010 called Instant Personalization allows sites such as Yelp, Pandora, and Microsoft Docs to access what Facebook defines as public information (your name, your picture, your gender, your location, your friends, and all your likes) unless you opt out of it. However, even if you do opt out, if a friend has not opted out, then these sites may still access your information through the friend. Pandora uses the information on music likes, for example, to recommend songs to you based on genre similarities. Although some people may like this easy personalization, others see it as an invasion of privacy. In 2012, Facebook paid a $20 million settlement in a class action lawsuit for using users’ Likes in their Sponsored Stories features without first getting their permission. The settlement affected 125 million Facebook users. Facebook was also threatened with a lawsuit for putting users’ photos in ads without permission. In 2014, Facebook made it easier to change its notoriously confusing privacy settings and made some minor moves toward improving users’ privacy. There are many temptations for companies such as Facebook and Zynga, the maker of FarmVille (which tracked Facebook users even when they left Facebook, before the relationship between Facebook and FarmVille ended), to invade users’ privacy by tracking their online behavior. The data collected are immensely valuable to marketers trying to figure out how best to tap certain markets—especially the lucrative eighteen-to-thirty-four demographic. For many companies, the wealth of data on user behavior they can obtain—and sell—is simply too great to resist, even if it is an invasion of privacy. Facebook jealously guards the data it collects on its members, working out deals with advertisers to provide them with the kind of information they want. The online advertising industry has been promoting a “do not track” option for users, which would let users state they do not want their online interactions tracked by advertisers. However, while the industry claims to promote such a system, they are also attempting to make the option nonbinding and therefore essentially ineffective. Companies that are bought by other companies or that go out of business have databases of registered users and online activity that could provide very valuable information. When users registered with a site, however, they likely did not consider that their personal data and on-site behavior might at some point end up in the hands of a different company with less stringent privacy policies. Now that anybody can essentially be a publisher with her or his own website, private individuals can more easily and unwillingly be thrust into the public eye. With the ubiquity of camera phones and small video cameras, revenge porn, in which former partners post nude or sexually explicit photos of their exes, has been a growing problem. Although still not illegal in many states, twenty-seven states have either passed or introduced laws making revenge porn illegal; and some members of Congress have promised to write a bill to make it illegal nationwide. What ethical principles should media companies and the general public follow in deciding whether to post or publish material? Companies often have professional codes of conduct or codes of ethics, but no such general code yet exists for the public publishing content. Journalists often cite the public’s “right to know” as a guiding principle when weighing ethical issues regarding publishing a story

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damaging to someone. Yet it is hard to say that the right to know outweighs someone’s right to privacy when publishing a nude picture of an ex-girlfriend or when making defamatory claims about someone on a blog. The law tends to protect ­social-networking sites and websites, not holding them liable for what members post on the sites, which gives the sites little incentive to police their content. Despite the valid concerns raised about privacy here, we can see that anonymity can be even more damaging in some cases. The Yik Yak app lets people post comments anonymously within a ten-mile radius. Yik Yak has caused problems at universities, as students have been victimized by vicious comments, and some students have used it to share test answers with other sections.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Consider your own time spent on Facebook. Have you found yourself using it less than you used to? Why? What are you using to stay connected instead of Facebook?

TRANSPARENCY Even supposedly tech-savvy companies leading the social media revolution seem regularly to make blunders similar to traditional-media companies regarding the new audience dynamics, as the Facebook Sponsored Stories example shows. ­Companies creating faux viral videos or fake grassroots blogs, a practice called   astroturfing astroturfing, are often punished in the court of public opinion once their machinations are exposed. Sudden shifts in privacy policies, either unannounced or anCreating a movement controlled by nounced inadequately, have produced similar audience backlash. a large organization or group designed to look like a citizenFacebook learned this the hard way in early 2009 when a change in their prifounded, grassroots campaign. vacy policy, which had been made a few weeks earlier but went unnoticed by the general public, stated that Facebook would own the rights to user-generated content on the site, including posted photos. Publicized by a consumer interest group, the change elicited immediate and immense outrage, including a threat by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to file a complaint with the FTC. Facebook quickly reversed the policy and created a group of users to discuss future privacypolicy changes—apparently to little avail, given their subsequent privacy problems just a few years later. Other companies should note these actions and reactions, emblematic of the shifting power dynamic between companies and the public. It would have been far better had Facebook created such a group in the first place rather than only after receiving complaints. Further, Facebook’s own customers used the very tools that helped make Facebook so popular to organize against the company. The need for transparency is becoming in- During the manhunt that followed the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013, creasingly important with social media—a fact someone created a fake Twitter account for the suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The that individuals and organizations forget or account posted threatening messages to the police. It was exposed as fake, but not before being retweeted, picked up by police scanners, and reported on by the ignore at their peril. Yet transparency often un- media. Such fakes can cause harm by diverting police attention and resources dermines corporate strategy making and during a crisis.

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planning because companies do not want to reveal secrets to competitors. Even when business strategy is not involved, what seems like harmless jokes sent by email between colleagues can damage reputations and brands if those emails appear on the Web. Fake Twitter accounts can be quite funny, but they have also caused a great deal of confusion when it becomes unclear if an account is fake or not. Phweeters (phony tweeters) have also crossed the lines of good taste when falsely reporting deaths, such as in 2009 when someone faked a journalist’s Twitter account and reported the death of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry twelve hours before he actually died after falling off a truck. Some news organizations picked up the tweet and reported it as news without first checking the validity of the account. On July 4, 2011, Fox News claimed its Twitter account had been hacked when a tweet falsely reported that President Obama had been assassinated. A little over a month earlier, Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked when one of his followers received lewd pictures of a man in boxer shorts. In Weiner’s case, however, it turned out that he had actually been taking indecent pictures of himself and sending them to some followers he was flirting with online. The subsequent scandal forced Weiner, who is married, to resign. Transparency is starting to be built into some ratings and review systems. Reviewers can state how long they have had a product, for example, which helps readers gauge if the glowing review is about a product just out of the box or one that has been used for a while. The balancing act between privacy, transparency, and mining the rich databases of compiled data from user interactions will continue to affect social-­ networking sites. As a struggle about the rights of consumers versus business interests, it raises this question: Who will watch the watchers? As we will see next, that is not the only struggle we face in a social media world.

Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Every new medium has its share of detractors, and the complaints over the ages are surprisingly similar. Real or perceived damage to youth ethics, attitudes, and beliefs is one typical complaint, as is how the new media make us dumber. The Internet and social media have not been immune to this, nor have other digital media, such as video games.

ARE SOCIAL MEDIA MAKING US LESS SOCIAL? In this book, we have discussed various ways that people have been able to become more involved in media production and collaborate with each other on any number of issues, ranging from traditional politics to social activism. However, a deeper consideration of how we use social media raises questions. Are all your “friends” on Facebook really your friends? How do you differentiate between Facebook “friends” and friends you actually regularly see or talk to? Using the term “friend” to refer to people one has never talked to directly or met face to face stretches the definition of the word and can produce problems.

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Consider what happens when friendship becomes romance online. In January 2013, the website Deadspin broke a story that tarnished not only mainstream sports news organizations but the reputation of one of college football’s biggest stars. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was a media darling throughout the 2012 college football season, especially with his heartbreaking story about his girlfriend getting injured in a car accident and then later dying of cancer. The only trouble was, there was no girlfriend. It was all an elaborate hoax played on Te’o, although when exactly he learned of the hoax and how long he kept silent about it remain open questions. The mainstream sports news journalists, perhaps to cover their own embarrassment at not doing adequate research, accused him of concocting the story to win sympathy. It seemed to defy belief that someone could claim a person was a girlfriend when their only communication was online. By expanding our ability to communicate and be social even when not actually present, social media have made developing and maintaining relationships more complex, especially romantic relationships. The issue has entered pop culture, as seen by MTV’s show Catfish. The show arranges meetings between people in relationships who have communicated only online. A catfish is someone who fakes an online profile, usually to get someone else to fall in love with the fake persona.


  catfish Someone who fakes an online profile, usually to encourage another to fall in love with the false persona.


Cyberbullying: New Twists on an Old Problem Bullying is, unfortunately, not a new problem, and it is hard to prove that the rise in popularity of social media has increased its frequency. What these communication tools have done, however, is make bullying more public and reduce bullies’ inhibitions by offering anonymity. At the same time, social media have increased public awareness of how widespread bullying actually is and how damaging it can be to a young person’s self-esteem. Hurtful words formerly spoken in a school hallway can now be written down and posted on social networks, encouraging other nasty comments, as this story from a 12-year-old Colorado girl demonstrates: I posted a picture of myself on Instagram and people started commenting these awful things like “Eww ur so ugly” “Why don’t you go kill urslef everyone would be happier that way” And I KNOW these people . . . they go to my school. I cried for a good 2 hours. But this wasn’t the first time this has happened on all my pictures at least 3 people say something like that. I’m never going on Instagram again. I wish I could disappear so I don’t I have to go to school.20 Many stories are similarly heartbreaking. Secrets can be exposed and broadcast to hundreds of peers in an

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online social network rather than simply whispered to a few close friends. Other types of cyberbullying are more subtle. Sending frequent text messages or making repeated phone calls is a type of harassment every bit as damaging and anxiety producing as more blatant forms of bullying. Some teens have killed themselves after being bullied on social media. Education experts understand that social media are not causing the bullying, but they are giving teens and others a much wider platform to show the worst sides of human nature as they struggle with forming their identities, building relationships, and learning to communicate in the modern world.

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The MTV reality show Catfish helps people in online relationships find out if their partner is who he or she claims to be.

Scholars have recently asked hard questions about how we actually use social media. For example, a 2011 study looked at how college students defined the term “hooking up” and found no consensus among students as to what it meant, other than it involved some sort of face-to-face, as opposed to exclusively online, encounter.21 Hooking up could mean everything from simply meeting for drinks or dinner to kissing to intercourse. What’s more, the ambiguity of the term was thought to preserve some sense of privacy that helped give women the same kinds of power that men normally enjoy in our society. In her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, MIT Professor Sherry Turkle examines how in many ways technology has separated us from one another. It gives us the illusion of greater connections and communication but actually makes us emotionally lazy and able to disengage from relationships easily. According to Turkle, young people are not the only ones to blame. Parents may send harmful social signals to their children by being physically but not emotionally present as they continually check their mobile phones and respond to texts or messages. In 2012, one company executive, tired of the barrage of emails, banned all internal emails for one week, forcing people either to meet face to face or to phone each other. He noted that he was better able to focus on big projects without the constant, distracting interruption of email.22 A Pew Research Center study in 2014 revealed that 67 percent of Internet users in the United States say that online communications with family and friends have strengthened their relations, with only 18 percent saying it has weakened them. Whether this is actually the case, or a matter of self-delusion along the lines of what Turkle has found, continues to be a matter of great debate.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Download an app like Checky, which counts how many times you check your phone or tablet a day, and compare your numbers for the past few days with your classmates. What, if anything, does this tell you about how much you rely on your phone?

ARE SOCIAL MEDIA MAKING US DUMBER? Scholars have looked at the effect of the Internet and social media on our levels of knowledge and ways of thinking. A growing body of evidence suggests that despite the unprecedented breadth and depth of information available on the Internet, today’s young people are more ignorant than ever before about subjects such as politics or history. Many seem to feel that they do not need to remember information because they can always find it online. In the book The Dumbest Generation, Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein chronicles case after case and numerous studies that indicate American teens and young adults today demonstrate a worrisome lack of intellectual curiosity and a dearth of knowledge about the world in general. They spend much of their time on social media, mostly communicating about mundane issues with each other and making sure they keep their circles of friends. They have far more knowledge of pop culture than of politics, and they see nothing wrong with the belief that pop culture is more important than politics.

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Bauerlein states that less than 30 percent could say what Reconstruction was, and in 2008, when the book came out, less than a quarter could identify Dick Cheney, vice president at the time. While Bauerlein highlights some bleak findings about social media and political apathy, social media has also driven some recent political participation among young voters. As we will see in Chapter 13, Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns used social media to build and coordinate a nationwide volunteer network. Strong support among previously unengaged young people played an instrumental role in Obama’s victories. A more significant concern is whether heavy Internet and social media use are physically rewiring our brains and making us think differently. A 2007 UCLA study that examined the cognitive differences between heavy and light multitaskers found that heavy multitaskers—those who typically had multiple web browser tabs open, who frequently checked status updates, and who posted updates themselves—­performed more poorly on memory and task tests than the light multitaskers. Exploring these instances further, subsequent studies supported the early evidence that social media use makes it harder for people to concentrate on longer or more complex tasks and that social media users tend to get distracted more easily by trivial matters and not understand or remember more important material. The “always-on” nature of social media and mobile devices creates anxiety when away from social media and a need to always “be present” by commenting to others when connected. A 2014 study titled “The Invisible Addiction: Cellphone Activities and Addiction among Male and Female College Students” found that college women reported spending an average of ten hours a day on their cell phones, while college men spend an average of seven and a half hours a day. The most frequent activity is texting, taking nearly 95 minutes a day, followed by emailing at 49 minutes a day and checking Facebook at 39 minutes a day. The public has a world of information at its fingertips through the Internet, yet ironically, people often squander their greater communicative power on pop culture trivia and an incessant need to keep in contact with others. The discovery of information online does not necessarily equate with the acquisition of knowledge, and in fact, we may express less interest in actual learning because we feel that we can always just look something up. People who have difficulty focusing their attention and who lack interest in politics may have difficulty acting as informed citizens of a democracy. A  perpetually distracted public is easily led—and misled—because people lose the ability to think critGrowing research shows that heavy social media users are less able to ically and question (or even recognize) abuses of concentrate and tend to get distracted by trivial issues. Yet social media also power. connect people with the wider world and can enhance self-esteem.

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The fact that we may not always use social media wisely does not mean that social media themselves are bad. They can be used to learn more about the world or to improve one’s skills, such as with online training and free or low-cost online courses. They can help us socialize, organize, create, and collaborate in ways never before seen, just as they can isolate and alienate if used to excess or inappropriately.

Media Careers With the rise in popularity of social media, companies of all kinds—not just media companies—have realized they too need to be where their customers are. Although companies often continue to see social media as simply another media channel, savvy organizations understand that social media bring their own ways of speaking and acting that differ from traditional media channels in which companies essentially controlled their messages to a largely silent (and presumably passive) audience. Two new job titles have been created that did not exist several years ago, and the level of confusion as to what each does is emblematic of the ever-changing and chaotic world that is social media. Social media managers are responsible for the brand on social media; they join in social media conversations, respond to comments, create content, and generally act as the brand itself. They are also involved in strategizing and planning for the brand through various social media, whose performance they also analyze. Community managers, on the other hand, are responsible for advocating for the brand on social media, trying to reach people who are not familiar with it. A community manager develops a persona as an individual, not as the brand itself, and promotes the brand through social media conversations. Much of a community manager’s time is spent simply participating in conversations online about the brand and monitoring blogs or other social media sites where the brand is being discussed. Both job types are well suited to graduates in English and communications, given the emphasis on communicating to others in a natural and conversational way.

LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD Like much of new media, social media actually have firm roots and influences in many aspects of old media, although in this case the term “old” refers more to the earliest days of PCs and the Internet than to radio, TV, or print media. Even so, the changes that social media have brought in a relatively short time have enduring implications for culture, business, and society that researchers are only beginning to explore. One of the biggest changes, discussed throughout this book, is the difference in the relationship between media producers and consumers. Even without the

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large marketing and promotion budgets of major media companies, average people have been able to create content that has been seen, heard, or read by millions or even tens of millions of people worldwide. Thanks to social-networking sites, the networks formed through online communication have become ever more visible and empowering. Numerous projects have demonstrated what can be accomplished when many work willingly together, efforts that can benefit even greater numbers of people. Wikipedia is one such project. Perhaps even more significant over the long term, however, is how social media have encouraged people to create and share knowledge structures, not just knowledge. Sometimes-heated discussions in forums expose participants to different viewpoints and attitudes. People in collaborative projects must come to some sort of understanding or agreement, thus modifying what is ­w ritten to satisfy everyone. Although such exposure may not change our beliefs, it may broaden our perspective and make us more willing to accept other positions. Curation, such as tagging information or reviewing products or media content, also allows us to share knowledge structures or ways of looking at the world. Providing information about information can reflect worldviews just as accurately as direct comments on a discussion board. A user who tags a photo of fighting in Syria as “genocide” may suddenly see connections to other photos with the same tag and learn of past incidents elsewhere. Following the actions of many users who are collaborating without even knowing it by using automated systems can yield amazing results. One example is Google flu trends, which uses aggregated data of search terms in the popular search engine to predict flu outbreaks up to two weeks earlier than traditional methods. Of course, the social media tools available are only as good as the way they are used. Arguably, a community of sorts exists around even frivolous sites, but its value to all but a few may be questionable. Simply because we now have the tools does not mean we will always use them productively or efficiently. Media companies are struggling to adapt to the world of social media, with mixed success. Companies not willing to give up control of their messages are having more difficulty than those receptive to engaging in the conversational chaos that is social media. Of bigger concern to companies, though, is how to earn revenues from all this incessant chatter, conversations often based on content the companies have spent money to create. There are no easy answers to this question. Popular social-networking sites are sitting on a gold mine of user data gleaned simply from the interactions and behaviors of active users, data that advertisers are quite willing to pay for to better target consumers. However, the high degree of surveillance we have today does raise important questions about user rights and privacy. Some industries may find it easier to adapt to or to shape the social media landscape in ways that benefit them, while others may be facing a future in which their profession or industry as currently practiced is barely recognizable in ten or twenty years.

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How Connected Are You?

1. Estimate how much time you spend per day on social media, via mobile phone, computer, or tablet. Which device do you typically use for social media? Do you use social media more or less often than your friends? 2. What is the longest time you have been without access to social media? How did you feel when you were not connected? Did your patterns of social media use change afterward?

more social. Agree or disagree with this assertion, and defend your argument. 4. When considering a movie, TV series, or book, would you be more persuaded by a review from the New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes, your school paper, or a Facebook friend with whom you have interacted only casually once or twice? What factors would influence your decision?

3. Some researchers have claimed that social media use has made us more isolated, not

FURTHER READING Social Media: A Critical Introduction. Christian Fuchs (2013) Sage. Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, 2nd ed. Erik Qualman (2013) Wiley. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Don Tapscott, Anthony Williams (2008) Portfolio. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Yochai Benkler (2006) Yale University Press. Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge. Cass Sunstein (2006) Oxford University Press. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. Clay Shirky (2008) Penguin Press. Cognitive Surplus: How Technology Makes Consumers into Collaborators. Clay Shirky (2011) Penguin Press. How Open Is the Future? Economic, Social & Cultural Scenarios Inspired by Free & Open-Source Software. Marleen Wynants, Jan Cornelis (eds.) (2005) VUB: Brussels University Press. The Wisdom of Crowds. James Surowiecki (2005) Anchor Press. Perspectives on Free and Open-Source Software. Joseph Feller, Brian Fitzgerald, Scott Hissam, Karim Lakhani (eds.) (2007) MIT Press. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia. Andrew Lih (2009) Hyperion. Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful. Beth Simone Noveck (2010) Brookings Institution Press. The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. Lawrence Lessig (2001) Random House.

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Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Lawrence Lessig (2008) Penguin Press. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. Axel Bruns (2008) Peter Lang. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier (2013) Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin. Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences. Philip M. Napoli (2010) Columbia University Press. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff (2008) Harvard Business School Press. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Seth Godin (2008) Portfolio. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. Duncan Watts (2004) W. W. Norton. Cyber Bullying: Protecting Teens and Adults from Online Bullies. Samuel McQuade III, James Colt, Nancy Meyer (2009) Praeger. To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism. Evgeny Morozov (2014) Public Affairs. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Sherry Turkle (2012) Basic Books. The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30). Mark Bauerlein (2009) Tarcher. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Nicholas Carr (2011) W. W. Norton.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 228 What Is News? 230 The Historical Development of Journalism 236 Foundations of Journalism 239 From Event to Public Eye: How News Is Created 243 Types of Journalism 248 Journalism in the Digital World 252 The Business of Journalism

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8 Journalism



ocial and digital media continue to transform the world of journalism as an increasingly prominent vehicle for quality news and information. In 2010, ProPublica was the first not-for-profit online news operation awarded a Pulitzer Prize.1 In April 2012, the Huffington Post became the first commercial news website and blog to win. 2 Founded by Arianna ­Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, Andrew Breitbart, and Jonah Peretti, the Huffington Post launched on May 9, 2005, as a fully digital, U.S.-based, for-profit operation. It provides original news, online commentary, and aggregated content from other sites on a wide spectrum of subjects including politics, business, entertainment, lifestyle, culture, and comedy. The Huffington Post received a Pulitzer for national reporting for an original series on wounded veterans. In “Beyond the Battlefield,”3 experienced war correspondent David Wood explores “the challenges that severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan face after they return home, as well as what those struggles mean for those close to them.” Debuting online, the ten-part series was subsequently expanded and republished for Kindle and iBook. The Huffington Post has evolved and matured since its introduction as largely an alternative to conservative online news such as the Drudge Report. In February 2011, AOL acquired the site for $315 million,4 and founder Arianna Huffington became editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. The Huffington Post effectively integrates social media both for reporting and for engaging citizens in an online news community. Every story encourages readers to follow and participate on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more. Upon the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in 2013, the lead story on HuffPost featured a one-inch-tall headline in bold red—“He’s Dead”—evoking sensationalist papers of a century ago. Yet the story also exhibited distinctly modern, digital features. A “scroll-over” of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s picture below the banner headline provided a “quick read,” a paragraph summary of highlights. Clicking on the photo or text below accessed the entire story, with multimedia and


Describe journalism and its role in mass communication and society.


Outline important historical developments in journalism that affect how it is practiced today.


Discuss journalism today, including different types, and the effects of convergence.


Outline legal and ethical issues in the practice of journalism, particularly ethical issues in the digital world.


Explain some aspects of the business of journalism and how they affect the practice of journalism.


Examine how convergence is affecting business models and careers in journalism.


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interactivity options. Readers could see the total number of social media shares to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and email as well as thousands of comments on HuffPost Social News. Comments were polarized: for example, “Chavez will live forever in the hearts and minds of his people. The boorish comments of the great unwashed will not survive the night.” And, “It is about time this man died, too bad it was not at the end of a rope. And the only thing he cared about was himself.”5 Within a few hours, a new blue headline appeared, “Life After Hugo,” linking to a story speculating on the future of Venezuela. Clearly the digital era offers journalists new opportunities both to react to a developing story and to engage with their audience. Along with opportunities come new challenges. Based in the United Kingdom, The Guardian in 2014 won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its ground-breaking reporting both online and in print of the revelations of the secret surveillance program carried out digitally by the U.S. spy agency, the National Security Agency (NSA). The Pulitzer was awarded as well to the Washington Post, which was an international partner in the public service reporting project. This reporting demonstrated the central role that digital journalism now plays in a contemporary, globalized media age.

  surveillance Primarily the journalism function of mass communication, which provides information about processes, issues, events, and other developments in society.

  correlation Media interpretation ascribing meaning to issues and events that helps individuals understand their roles within the larger society and culture.

  cultural transmission The process of passing on culturally relevant knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values from person to person or group to group.

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News organizations walk a thin line between providing a vital public service and thriving, or even surviving, as a business. Serving the public good does not preclude pandering to baser tastes for financial gain, and news organizations run as commercial enterprises have been accused of becoming too cozy with powerful business and political interests. Some believe the purpose of journalism is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” How well it is fulfilling these roles as public advocate and watchdog remains a topic of debate on print editorial pages, online discussion boards, and call-in talk shows. This should be viewed as a sign not of the profession’s inherent failure but, rather, of its enduring importance in the digital age, where it is not enough simply to inform. Journalism today also needs to encourage public participation, as attested to by the rise of citizen journalism and hyperlocal news. In addition to mobilizing the public, news is integral to three of the four main  functions of mass communication: surveillance, correlation, and cultural transmission. To a lesser extent, journalism also serves the entertainment function. And because news consumption or participation is not a civic duty, many will engage only if it is an enjoyable leisure activity.

What Is News? “Man Bites Dog,” an oft-cited headline in introductory journalism classes, suggests that news becomes news when it is extraordinary. Reporting does indeed embrace the unexpected. But most news is largely predictable a day, a week, a month, or sometimes years in advance. Consider the types of news stories about any annual event, such as advice on holiday shopping or what the stars will be wearing to this year’s Oscars—a glance at news archives will likely uncover a very similar story the previous year and the year before that. Stories that affect the public interest also clearly constitute news: fires, accidents, recent discoveries, and corporate or political corruption, for example. Several issues arise when examining the nature of news. First is the frequent complaint that news dwells too much on the negative— crime, accidents, wrongdoing, and so forth. Although positive news, such as

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human-interest stories or new business openings, may also be criticized as public relations pieces that do not adequately address significant concerns, negative pieces may send a distorted message that things are worse than they actually are. A focus on events rather than trends amplifies this problem. Although the overall annual crime rate may be falling, coverage of particular crimes, especially sensational ones, will still be pervasive. Trends are not as readily accommodated by the narrative structure of journalism that tends to rely on people, what they did or had done to them, and the consequences. Trends involve data, which journalism   pseudo-events has not historically presented effectively, although this has improved with the growth of data-driven reporting and effective graphics, supplemented by individEvents staged specifically to attract media attention, ual cases to illustrate a trend. particularly the news. Critical media consumers understand that diverse people and particular forces, notably advertising and public relations, influence and manufacture the   soft news day news. It doesn’t just happen. Historian and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Daniel A day in which not much has Boorstin describes what he calls pseudo-events, events staged to attract media happened that is newsworthy, attention and influence news coverage, such as press conferences, marches, and entailing the addition of features rallies. Story selection depends on various factors, including other events that with less real news value, such as day, the type of news organization, and even the political views of the owner in human-interest stories. some cases. On a soft news day, when editors consider the day’s events not especially newsworthy, they will air programming or include human-interest stories. A flood in a distant country killing hundreds may appear on a “World News Brief” page on a slow news day but be omitted if there is important local news. How do editors decide that a popular local high school athlete killed in a traffic accident is more significant than five hundred killed overseas? They try to determine what is of most interest to their readership. Journalists have an agenda-setting function, meaning their news choices influence what the public will deem important and discuss. Despite its strong public service mission, journalism is nevertheless subject to economic realities. Without significant audiences and substantial advertising revenues, most newspapers and news magazines, whether print or digital, would cease to exist, as would television and radio news programs. Most newspapers and magazines actually have more space devoted to advertising than to news. The Internet has challenged many of On slow news days, editors are more likely to include features journalism’s traditional business models, and falling advertisor photos that have little true news value. ing revenues for traditional media outlets have still not been outweighed by the gain in Internet advertising. Let’s examine the history of journalism as both a profession and a business,   agenda setting particularly how technological change has driven innovation. Media’s role in deciding which Discussion QuestionS: Think about the predictability of much news. What stories or story topics (e.g., elections, holidays, a follow-up to a story that broke yesterday) are cyclical or predictable in some fashion? Look at today’s news and see how many stories you can find that fall into this category. Are there more or fewer than likely occurred out of enterprise or investigative reporting or as a result of some unpredictable occurrence (e.g., a natural disaster)?

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topics to cover and consequently which topics the public deems important and worthy of discussion.

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The Historical Development of Journalism   penny press Newspapers that sold for a penny, making them accessible to everyone. Supported by advertising rather than subscriptions, they tried to attract as large an audience as possible.

  James Gordon Bennett Founder of the New York Herald in 1835. He initiated features found in modern newspapers including a financial page, editorial commentary, and public-affairs reporting.

  objectivity Journalistic principle that says reporting should be impartial and free of bias. Because of the difficulties involved in complete objectivity, this principle has largely been replaced by the concepts of fairness and balance.

The history of journalism has been synonymous with print, with the penny press and mass distribution of newspapers in the early nineteenth century producing a sea change in its theory and practice. To fill pages, editors, who had previously relied largely on “news” proffered by citizens or gathered by a small staff (as well as liberally copying from other newspapers, often without crediting the sources) now had to hire reporters who actively pursued stories. Articles were also typically organized chronologically, regardless of the relative importance of the information, and the opinions of editors or publishers (often the same person) mixed freely with other editorial content. No thought was given to presenting all sides of an issue fairly. With the penny press’s need to attract as many readers as possible, Newsboys helped mass distribute penny papers by selling them throughout cities. however, publishers decided to concentrate more on sensational crimes and events than on their personal opinions. And to maintain objectivity or at least the appearance of such, editors began publishing their points of view exclusively on the “editorial” page, a tradition the Western press maintains today to guide public opinion on important matters, such as candidates for office. James Gordon Bennett, who founded the New York Herald in 1835, introduced, in addition to editorial commentary, a financial page and public-affairs reporting, more staples of modern journalism. Also important to the development of modern journalism were minority newspapers. Among the earliest was El Misisipí, the first Spanish-language newspaper in the United States and first published in 1808 in New Orleans;6 followed by the first Native American newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix (1828), and the first African American daily, the New Orleans Daily Creole (1856). Frederick Douglass, an American statesman, abolitionist, and former slave, was also a journalist who published an antislavery paper, the North Star. These minority voices introduced the value of diversity to journalism while promoting more nuanced and balanced alternative perspectives.

  Associated Press Founded in 1848 as a not-for-profit members’ cooperative by a group of six New York newspaper publishers to share the costs of gathering news by telegraph. Today, some 1,500 newspapers and 5,000 television and radio stations are members.

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NEWS VALUES AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS News continued to evolve, shaped by the democratization of politics, the expansion of the market economy, and the growing impact of an entrepreneurial middle class. One reason news became more impartial—a core value in journalism known as objectivity—was the emergence of the news wire service in the 1840s. In 1846, publishers of six New York newspapers organized the Associated Press (AP),

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in large part to take advantage of the telegraph, a high-speed communications medium too expensive for any single newspaper to afford. Gathering news for half a dozen papers with varying political viewpoints meant AP reports had to be politically neutral; and by the dawn of the twentieth century, these dispatches were virtually free of editorial comment. Still based in New York, the AP provides textual, audio, and video news, photos, and graphics for its not-for-profit members’ cooperative, including 1,500 newspapers and 5,000 radio and television news operations. Members provide much of the AP content, which in turn any member can use. It employs 3,200 people (twothirds of whom work as journalists) in over 280 locations worldwide.7 The AP maintains the highest standards in journalism, having received fifty Pulitzer Prizes, including thirty for photos. As their website states, “More than 30 AP journalists have given their lives in this pursuit of the news. ‘I go with Custer and will be at the death,’ AP reporter Mark Kellogg wrote before Custer’s final stand against the Sioux. And so he was.”8 In addition to objectivity, the AP embodies at least four other core journalistic values. Foremost among these is a commitment to truth and accuracy in reporting. Quotations should be kept in context and reported accurately. Corrections that improve public understanding should be published when errors are detected. AP reporters, like all professional journalists, are committed to the integrity of the news. They do not plagiarize, or copy, work. They avoid conflicts of interest. Business reporters, for instance, must divulge their financial interest in a company and abstain from reporting on it. Much of this involves a commitment to the value of ethics, the moral basis for news. The AP tries to shield the identity of victims of sexual assault. AP reporters do not misrepresent themselves to get a story. They do not pay sources for an interview or a photo, a standard that certain tabloid and television news operations reject. Source attribution is also an AP ethical mandate. Anonymous sources, who erode credibility, can be used only when the material is information and not opinion or speculation and is vital to the news report; the information is not available except under the conditions of anonymity imposed by the source; and the source is reliable and in a position to have accurate information.9

Discussion QuestionS: Find an AP article on a major event or significant person and compare its treatment of the topic to that of another news organization. What similarities and differences did you observe? Did the AP demonstrate a greater commitment to its core values?

PULITZER AND HEARST: THE CIRCULATION WARS, SENSATIONALISM, AND STANDARDS Although objective reporting soon became the AP norm, not until well into the twentieth century did most newspapers adopt this model. Throughout the last half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, sensational journalism, news that exaggerated or featured lurid details and depictions of crimes or other events, dominated content. Two of the greatest newspaper titans

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  sensational journalism News that exaggerates or features lurid details and depictions of events to increase its audience.

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part 3  >>  Media Perspectives


Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Ida B. Wells

Mary Ann Shadd Cary

During the 1800s, as immigration increased and minorities began to identify as groups with shared interests and concerns, various minority or ethnic newspapers appeared in the United States. These papers served the needs of niche audiences, including Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, and immigrants whose native language was not English. Among the most notable minority newspapers of the day was the Provincial Freeman. Founder, writer, and editor Mary Ann Shadd Cary observed in her paper that “self-­ reliance is the fine road to independence,” a principle that her life strikingly exemplified. Shadd Cary was the first ­African American woman to edit a weekly newspaper and to publish in North America. She was also the first woman publisher in Canada. In addition, she was a teacher and a lawyer, only the second African American woman to earn a law degree. Born a free black in 1823 in Wilmington, Delaware, Mary, the eldest of thirteen children, fled with her family to ­Windsor, Canada, after the Fugitive Slave Act, threatening the freedom of free northern blacks and escaped slaves,

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was passed in the United States in 1850. In response to a vigorous campaign to deter runaway slaves from escaping to Canada, Mary wrote a forty-four-page pamphlet, “Notes of Canada West,” outlining the opportunities for blacks in Canada. Building on the success of this widely read publication, Mary established the Provincial Freeman, a weekly newspaper targeting blacks, especially fugitive slaves. She reported on a variety of important topics, among them lies being spread in the United States that African Americans in Canada were starving. Shadd Cary’s father had worked for an abolitionist newspaper called the Liberator; after her husband’s death in 1860, Shadd Cary returned to America, where she taught and wrote for the newspapers National Era and The People’s Advocate. Ida B. Wells was another important African American female journalist in the nineteenth century. Born a slave in 1862, six months before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Wells spent her adult life fighting racism, ­especially the lynching of African Americans. She wrote for the religious weekly The Living Way and for various African American newspapers, including Free Speech and Headlight. She was elected secretary of the Afro-American Press ­Association in 1889.

Ida B. Wells

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of this era were Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other papers, and William Randolph Hearst, publisher of the San Francisco Examiner and the New York Journal.

Joseph Pulitzer Born in 1847 in Budapest, Hungary, Joseph Pulitzer emigrated to the United States in 1864, serving in the Union army during the Civil War. After moving to St. Louis in 1868, he became a reporter for a German-language paper. Pulitzer purchased the bankrupt St. Louis Dispatch in 1878, later merging it with the Evening Post to create the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In 1883, he bought the New York Post and then the New York World. Embroiled with fellow newspaper mogul Hearst in the circulation wars of the 1890s, Pulitzer used abundant illustrations, a racy style, and colorful headlines to promote the New York World. He wanted a focus on city news, compelling stories—humorous, odd, romantic, or thrilling—and accurate writing with attention to detail. By the early 1890s, the World’s circulation had risen to three hundred thousand by mixing sensational photographs with good, solid reporting, “crusades” against corrupt politicians, support for increased taxes, and civil service reform, for example. Color comics in the Sunday papers were another of Pulitzer’s most successful innovations. Although not the first newspaper cartoon, The Yellow Kid, a Joseph Pulitzer was a Hungarian immigrant who comic strip drawn as busy, single-panel founded a newspaper empire in St. Louis and New York. illustrations, contributed much to the 10 format many today take for granted. Featuring brash and vulgar antics on the backstreets of the fictional Hogan’s Alley, The Yellow Kid was in some ways a late-nineteenth-century precursor to the crude kids of South Park, who debuted during more recent competition for television ratings. The Yellow Kid quickly became a central figure in the circulation battles when Hearst lured creator and cartoonist Richard Felton Outcault away from the World. Referring to the Kid’s famous yellow shirt, critics coined the term yellow journalism to describe the sensational style of the of Pulitzer and Hearst newspapers. After the four-month Spanish-American War in 1898, Pulitzer abandoned the sensational style that had helped build his brand, developing a vision of journalistic excellence outlined in a 1904 article for the North American Review.11 Investigative stories that ran in his papers were instrumental in the passage of antitrust legislation and regulation of the insurance industry. This emphasis on public service journalism and accurate reporting remains a cornerstone of the annual ­Pulitzer Prizes, which he bequeathed along with an endowment for the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism after his death in 1911.

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  Joseph Pulitzer American newspaper magnate whose publications competed vigorously with those of Hearst. After 1900, Pulitzer retreated from sensational journalism, favoring instead more socially conscious reporting and muckraking. He founded the Pulitzer Prizes, annual awards for outstanding journalism.

  William Randolph Hearst American newspaper magnate during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries whose newspapers across the United States were noted for sensational journalism and political influence.

  yellow journalism Style practiced notably by publishers Pulitzer and Hearst during the late 1890s in which stories were sensationalized and often partly or wholly fabricated for dramatic purposes.

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William Randolph Hearst William Randolph Hearst, the son of a self-made multimillionaire miner and rancher in northern California, studied at Harvard; and at the age of twentythree, in 1887, became proprietor of his first newspaper, the San ­Francisco Examiner, payment his father had received for a gambling debt. In 1895, the younger Hearst acquired the New York Morning Journal; he debuted the Evening Journal a year later, enticing away many of Pulitzer’s best reporters and editors with higher pay while increasing his chain nationwide to include the Boston American and Chicago Examiner, as well as Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar. Circulation increased tremendously as the paper attracted readers with colorful banner headlines, splashy photography, and, some say, fabricated news. Hearst was often criticized for his sensational tactics, later immortalized in the now-defunct News of the World, a print tabloid newspaper in Orson Welles’ cinematic masterpiece Citizen Kane. Historian Ernest L. Meyer characterizes his work as inflammatory: Mr. Hearst in his long and not laudable career has inflamed ­A mericans against Spaniards, Americans against Japanese, Americans against Filipinos, Americans against Russians, and in the pursuit of his incendiary campaign he has printed downright lies, forged documents, faked atrocity stories, inflammatory editorials, sensational cartoons and photographs and other devices by which he abetted his jingoistic ends.12 William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers often had sensational coverage that helped give rise to the term “yellow journalism.”

Nevertheless, his 1933 editorial guidelines articulate news standards that resonate today: “Make the news thorough. Print all the news. Condense it if necessary. Frequently it is better when intelligently condensed. But get it in.” In 1945, six years before his death at age eighty-five, he established the Hearst Foundation, which today provides important support for journalism education and other concerns, including health and culture. His ornate 130-room mansion, San Simeon, nicknamed Hearst Castle, was built in the 1920s and still stands as a California landmark.

THE RISE OF ELECTRONIC JOURNALISM Newspapers began to suffer in the 1920s with the ascent of radio, which, supported entirely by advertising, offered news more quickly and for “free.” And when television began broadcasting news in the late 1940s and early 1950s, newspapers’ waning star was eclipsed. News was and still is an important part of how television fulfills its federal mandate to serve the public interest. Television network news divisions in New York produced many of the early news programs. In 1947, NBC debuted Meet the Press, a made-for-TV news conference where journalists queried various newsmakers, often government officials. Until his untimely death in 2008, Tim Russert had been the longest-serving host of what has become the longest-running series on network TV. In the 1950s, NBC introduced the first early-morning network news show. Host Dave Garroway and chimpanzee sidekick J. Fred Muggs offered a decidedly entertaining approach that the Today show still maintains.

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Murrow and News in TV’s Golden Age Setting the standard for television news during its golden age in the late 1940s and the 1950s was distinguished journalist Edward R. Murrow, who first achieved fame with dramatic radio news broadcasts from London during World War II. Murrow produced the popular television programs See It Now and Person to Person at CBS News. Murrow’s comments on television at the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) meeting in 1958 ring equally true today for the Internet: “This instrument can teach, it can illuminate, and, yes, it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is nothing but wires and lights in a box.” In TV Guide the same year, he offered another caveat: “Television in the Edward R. Murrow was a noted radio and television journalist in the earliest days of television. main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us.”

  Edward R. Murrow A radio and, later, television journalist and announcer who set the standard for journalistic excellence during TV’s golden age.

Changes in Television News Interesting visuals on which television news relies can often dictate the selection and sequence of stories in a newscast. Perhaps because of its visual nature, television news has always catered to our entertainment needs, evident as far back as the early days of Today. Moreover, time constraints of less than thirty minutes or an hour to cover local, national, and international news, business news, sports, and weather constrict feature length. The introduction of video cameras transformed television news. Electronic news-gathering (ENG) equipment allowed journalists in the field to capture and send videotaped news by satellite to the network, where it could be edited and broadcast much more quickly than film. This process has influenced the nature of video storytelling. The late CBS news veteran Bud Benjamin called it “NTV,” the video-journalism equivalent of “MTV,” with rapid-paced cuts and strong entertainment values. The rise of twenty-four-hour news channels means a much larger news hole to fill and consequently much lower standards for what stations deem newsworthy. Coverage of events that would not otherwise reach a televised audience is not necessarily a bad thing, but often this material simply promotes or entertains. The prurient entertainment quality of much TV news was particularly evident in the weeks of almost nonstop coverage of the 2013 Jodi Arias trial, for example, a lurid case in which a woman charged with first-degree murder of her boyfriend testified on the stand about their often-bizarre sexual exploits.

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  electronic newsgathering (ENG) equipment Tools such as video cameras and satellite dishes that allow journalists to gather and broadcast news much more quickly.

  news hole Amount of total space available after advertisement space has been blocked out, typically in newspapers.

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In 2013, the launch of Al Jazeera America brought well-funded new competition from the Middle East to U.S. 24-hour cable and satellite TV news.

Foundations of Journalism Professional, mainstream journalism is still practiced largely conventionally. ­Reporters cover events and write stories, and editors select what stories to assign and whether they appear, depending on the available pages for print news, which in turn depends on advertising revenue. Even digital-first news media (in which news is reported first in digital format before going to traditional channels) are constrained by screen size and audience attention spans. Digital technology does not change the fact that reporters need to visit places and interview people. Nor does digital technology replace an experienced editor’s judgment about what makes a good story and how it should be edited. To understand which aspects of journalism have already changed and which will likely change more with convergence, we must first consider some of the foundations of journalism.

THE HUTCHINS COMMISSION AND A FREE AND RESPONSIBLE PRESS In 1947, what became known as the Hutchins Commission published a landmark 133-page report on the American press, A Free and Responsible Press. Written by Robert Maynard Hutchins and a dozen other leading intellectuals, this report of the Commission on Freedom of the Press argued that the public has a right to information that affects it and that the press has a responsibility, even a moral duty, to present that information because of their constitutionally guaranteed freedom. The commission indicated that the government, the public, and the press could all take steps to improve the functioning of a healthy press. These included government recognition of the same constitutional guarantees for all media, not just print. The commission recommended that agencies of mass communication finance new, experimental activities in their fields and that members of the press engage

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in rigorous reciprocal criticism. The commission called on the public to create academic-­professional centers for advanced communications study, research, and publication. Among the first such centers was the Media Studies Center, founded by the Freedom Forum in 1984, nearly forty years after the report. The commission also encouraged schools to exploit the total resources of their universities to ensure that their students obtain the broadest and most liberal training. Finally, the commission proposed the establishment of an independent agency to appraise and report annually on press performance. A National Press Council failed, however, although a similar idea has had marginal success in some states.

SEPARATION OF EDITORIAL AND BUSINESS OPERATIONS Dubbed the “separation of church and state” in newsroom parlance, this basic principle entails that news coverage not be influenced by business decisions or advertisers, a separation intended to be reflected in page layout that clearly distinguishes between advertising and editorial content. At the New York Times headquarters, business and editorial staff even take separate elevators to their offices to avoid potential contact. Yet many media critics complain that this separation has eroded in recent years as publishers and large media corporations increasingly let commercial concerns influence editorial content. A blatant example was when the owner of the Los ­Angeles Times demanded a special “news” section on the ­Staples Center, without explicitly informing staff that Staples both sponsored and approved the content. A more insidious example involves management layoffs that hamper original local reporting and force the paper to rely on cheaper but perhaps Advertorials are designed and written to look like news content less relevant wire service news. but are in fact paid advertisements.

FAIRNESS AND BALANCE IN NEWS COVERAGE Fairness and balance in news coverage have increasingly replaced objectivity, a goal that has been questioned in recent years. Critics argue that reporter bias cannot be avoided, and to claim objectivity in a given situation simply masks partiality. Even if the reporter has no strong personal opinion when writing a story, subsequent editing and placement in a newspaper or news broadcast can still reflect bias. Unintended biases can also inform an editor’s choice of assignments and a reporter’s choice of sources. “Fairness” and “balance” mean equal and just consideration of all sides of a topic. This does not mean equal space, however. Support for a fringe candidate from a small group of fifty people, however vocal, would not receive the same amount of coverage as a popular candidate from a major political party. A journalist must consider factors such as contextual importance and source validity or authority.

  fairness News reporting on all relevant sides of an issue that allows representatives of those various sides the same coverage.

  balance Presenting sides equally and reporting on a broad range of news events.

Discussion QuestionS: Look at the front page of your favorite newspaper app or website and assess the placement of stories and photos. What reasons might account for such placement? How would moving a story onto the front page or from the front to another page change your impression of its importance?

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FRAMING THE NEWS   frame Structure or angle given a news story that influences reader understanding covering the event.

Traditional news media often decide how they will frame a story before the reporting is completed and sometimes before it has even begun. Forcing facts to fit a preconceived frame is one of the biggest threats to fairness and balance. Yet this tendency cannot be wholly avoided, partly because it makes writing a news story easier and faster and partly because it helps us make sense of the world. Journalists, who often believe their work simply reflects reality, may not even aware be aware of their frame. This can create problems, especially when treating more ambiguous and complicated situations that tend to defy simple framing. Consider, for example, the media’s tendency to demonize, reducing complex events and people to “good” and “bad” and reporting accordingly. Depending on one’s loyalties, a “terrorist attack” could also be described as “armed resistance.”

Discussion QuestionS: Discuss a current event in the news and how it is framed. How does this framing affect the way the topic is being covered? Suggest frames that may allow for more balanced, complete coverage.

EXPERT SOURCES Another problematic issue related to framing is the use of expert sources to enhance story credibility, sources that by and large are white and male. A September


Covering Islam Framing in the news occurs everywhere, but it is arguably most prevalent in coverage of international news. In the 1980s, when Japanese companies were buying American companies, the American media often depicted the trend in warlike terms such as “invasion.” This was echoed in recent years as China gained economic might and has wanted to buy American companies, such as Smithfield Foods, America’s biggest pork producer; yet similar language is not seen when a Canadian or British company buys an American company. Due partly to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Islam has largely been framed in the U.S. media as a monolithic religion advocating violence and repression of human rights, argues scholar Edward Said in his book Covering Islam. Said says that the inaccurate depictions of Islam are created by a complex web of media that rely on

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self-proclaimed “Islamic experts” who pontificate on the Middle East and who often equate fundamentalism with Islam, even though Judaism and Christianity face similar fundamentalist movements. The depictions feed into a nationalistic “us-versus-them” mentality that is similar to the anti-Communist fervor during the Cold War. Not only do these inaccurate portrayals of Muslims hurt our ability to see them on equal or humanistic terms, they provide a cover for repressive regimes that use Islam as an excuse for their policies. Framing, in other words, paints over a complex reality and, more ­importantly, shapes our reactions and beliefs to the new reality that it creates. This in turn can affect how we interact with the groups that have been framed and can perpetuate negative stereotypes and discrimination.

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2012 study found that particularly underrepresented are Latinos, a population that has more than doubled since 1990, comprising approximately 17 percent of the total population. Yet expert Latino voices are almost never heard in American English-language news media. In 2006, only 2 percent of the U.S. experts who appeared on PBS NewsHour were Latino, and President George W. Bush’s Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez himself constituted 30 percent of those appearances. A 2014 investigation by Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race revealed network TV to be even worse, with less than 1 percent of all stories on the nightly news programs highlighting Latinos.13 “Individuals of either sex, any age, and all races can be heard from on the network news, as long as they are not wielding power or offering expertise. The networks’ ‘golden rolodexes’ of expert consultants are badly in need of updating,” observes Andrew Tyndall, who directed a study called Who Speaks for America? Sex, Age and Race on the Network News.14

From Event to Public Eye: How News Is Created News is regularly required to fill the scheduled evening TV broadcast, the morning paper, or the weekly news magazine. Like an accordion, news can expand or contract with the day’s events, but only to a limited degree. And whether anything of import occurs today, networks will still air at least a thirty-minute newscast (twenty-two minutes, after subtracting time for commercials). Sometimes, during a major breaking news event—such as the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks—they expand to an hour or even to continuous coverage. In the past thirty years, hard news has yielded to lighter fare. In 1980, one of three front-page news stories dealt with government or public affairs, including international events, compared to just one in five today. In 1980, only one in fifty front-page daily newspaper stories featured celebrities, popular entertainment, and related subjects. Today, it’s one in fourteen, not including the various teasers and blurbs promoting other parts of the paper. Television news is following print trends, with shorter stories and reduced coverage of politics and government. Forty percent of local TV “news” is now weather, sports, and traffic reporting. This dramatic and inexorable shift has occurred for a number of reasons. One is an increasingly competitive environment in which newspapers vie with electronic entertainment media for audiences. Also important are changing ownership structure and business models. The resulting staff cutbacks in the past two decades have been substantial and wrought other changes, including the closure of foreign bureaus. News media are struggling to reinvent themselves in an online, digital age. Although TV is still the number one news source for most Americans, Pew Research found that as of 2013, nearly half of Americans turn daily to digital news sources, especially via smartphones and tablets.15 Regardless of news format, news techniques of gathering, reporting, and presenting information to the public, although refined over the years, have changed surprisingly little. Certain variations exist among print, broadcast, and online journalism; but the basics, which we look at now, remain largely the same.

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GATHERING THE NEWS The AP publishes for members a daily listing of upcoming events, such as important court cases, demonstrations, and press conferences. Most journalists or their assignment editors refer to the AP daybook at night for tomorrow’s story ideas, and the daybook remains a good predictor of the next day’s news. Some media critics claim that much news is actually manufactured by media organizations aided and abetted by public relations news releases or video news releases (VNRs) and that press conferences, awards ceremonies, and the like are staged solely to attract public and press attention. Although news about pseudo-events or based on publicity releases may well be “manufactured,” the fact is that journalists must rely heavily on certain sources to stay informed. Reporters also develop sources when covering a beat, an area originally structured by geography, much like a police officer’s, but now largely defined by subject, such as Sometimes during protests or demonstrations, people act up when education, city hall, the state capital, or science. Beats facilithey see TV news cameras. tate the cultivation of valuable sources and access to newsworthy developments. Small hyperlocal news sites, which cannot afford specialized reporters, often have general-assignment reporters who   beat cover a range of topics. Reporter’s specialized area of Moreover, the media spotlight tends to create more news. A big story such as coverage based on geography or subject. Common beats in large or a natural disaster or a U.S. presidential election resonates through the entire medium-sized newspapers include system. Yet even an unusual movie advertising campaign, for example, may trigeducation, crime, and state politics. ger more stories about the campaign and its impact on the film’s success, which in turn generate more publicity, making the movie more popular and more newsworthy. Some news filters up through the media network. A story in a local paper may be covered by a regional television station where a reporter for a national publication sees it and brings it to the national stage.

PRODUCING THE NEWS Once a story has been assigned or selected and the raw material gathered, the reporter has to make sense out of all the interviews, background facts, video, and so forth, shaping these into a compelling story. Yet few journalists have the luxury of putting a story aside for a week to ponder word choice or polish prose. And if the story is breaking news, the reporter will have even less time. In meetings usually several hours before deadline, newspaper editors decide which stories are most important and where they will be placed in print or online; these spaces are blocked out (advertising space has been blocked out first), an arrangement subject to change in the event of breaking news. Editors look for logical weaknesses, errors, and gaps in stories, often asking reporters to get more information. Fact checkers research stories for accuracy and sometimes have to replace TKs (meaning “to come”) with information they have sought out. Copyeditors correct writing and in-house style errors. In larger news organizations, headline and caption writers create apt headlines and photo captions to fit the space allotted. In smaller news outlets, a journalist may wear a number of these hats.

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Platypus Journalism: The Future, or Evolutionary Dead End? tools, such as wireless Internet connections and more powerful computers, could enable journalists on the road to shoot video, record audio, write a story, and possibly create an interactive multimedia graphic. This scenario appeals to management, for one reporter would now be doing the work of at least three. Some early experiments in one-person news operations seemed promising, such as Kevin Sites’s reporting for Yahoo! News from a number of global hotspots. By 2013, the required gadgetry had been dramatically streamlined and mainstreamed. Today, most journalists routinely go out into the field equipped with a smartphone or tablet device or wearable camera not only connected to the Internet wirelessly but also capable of capturing audio and video, doing online research, editing stories in multimedia format, and filing With thirty years of experience, Bill Gentile is one of the foremost them from the field or posting them directly to a practitioners of backpack journalism, using small, affordable digital cameras as well as online digital editing and distribution platforms to work effectively digital-­first news site. The reporter can also use social as a solo journalist.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: What impact do media to facilitate audience engagement. you think backpack journalism has on news reporting? Does it produce The model has been mocked, however, as “platybetter stories? Why or why not? pus journalism” or “Inspector Gadget journalism,” with critics arguing that journalists cannot do the same inNews organizations have been slow to realize how drastically depth coverage when juggling all the tech gadgets as they digital media are changing their business and the nature of could if they focused on one medium, such as writing or the profession itself, but the grave consequences of this video. Critics claim the future of reporting more likely lies in change in the form of lost advertising revenues, lower readersome form of crowdsourcing—utilizing raw data gathered ship, and job cuts have made this situation impossible to from the public—and citizen reporting rather than a oneignore. man band of technology gadgetry. In this model, journalists As news organizations scramble to reinvent themselves may act more as curators than news gatherers for some in the digital news environment, one new model of the future types of stories, directing the flow of data feeds and choosof journalism has seemed particularly appealing: a single coring and interpreting accurate and relevant information to respondent in sole possession of all the tools to report, procreate compelling stories. duce, and file stories from the field. Newer, cheaper digital

Design and page-layout artists create digital versions of copyedited articles in a page-layout program such as Adobe InDesign or online via WordPress. Proofreaders check for errors; after an editor approves an issue, it is sent to the printer, formerly as negative photographs of page hard copies but now entirely as digital pages received electronically. TV camera crews and reporters usually return to the station to edit footage shot on location and to add voice-overs and graphics. Because time is so critical, news segments are rehearsed and edited down to the second. Breaking or international news is reported live from location, often broadcasting via satellite. ­Advances in mobile, digital technology have made it increasingly practical to do

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  crowdsourcing Using raw data gathered from the public and citizen-journalists to help create a news report.

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nonlinear video editing from the field and then transmit a completed video package or story wirelessly, even high-resolution, broadcast-quality material. Digital video technology has reduced the requirements for shooting broadcast-­ quality video to a single cameraperson and a reporter, but producing a television news package still involves more technically than writing a print story. Many print news operations now have converged newsrooms. At TimesCast from the New York Times, for example, reporters produce digital video versions of stories they are working on for the paper, mobile apps, or the Web. At a TV station, the producer and reporter decide what to edit and how the story will be put together, usually working with video editors or other technicians who carry out their instructions. Some news anchors also have a role in editorial decisions, whereas others simply deliver the news.

DISTRIBUTING THE NEWS The goal of both print and electronic news distribution is the same: to attract as large an audience as possible, which means a higher advertising rate and more income for the media organization. To that end, newspapers and magazines use colorful or dramatic photos on their front pages or covers, often featuring what the editors have decided is the most enticing story. Some magazines may send press releases about particularly noteworthy stories in the next issue, with the hope that other media outlets will report on these and generate more sales. Particular stories can be syndicated and appear in other print-media outlets. Print media are distributed through subscriptions and newsstand sales. Subscribers are more valuable to media organizations because they represent a stable revenue base and provide mailing lists that can be sold or rented to other organizations. Material costs for print media, ranging from paper to ink to delivery trucks, can be quite high. Television stations have short teasers during commercial breaks throughout the evening, usually a provocative question such as “Could the food you are eating be dangerous? Find out at eleven.” In 2015, Jon Stewart announced his departure from the satirical news show The To keep people watching, stories that served as Daily Show, disappointing legions of fans, particularly college students, who stayed on top of current events with his program. bait typically appear later in the program, as does the weather. Networks transmit national news shows to affiliate stations, sometimes with time slots available for additional local news content. They also send video feeds of international and national news coverage. Whether produced originally for print or broadcast, most news is also packaged for digital distribution direct to the consumer. Most news organizations, even those with traditional news products, are committed to digital-first publication to get their stories out to the public quickly before the competition does. Moreover, most if not all news media today engage audiences via social networking. Through a combination of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and more, they share news stories and invite readers to share, expanding their audience and

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the digital dialog on news. Editors who complain about news aggregators such as Google using their material for free still benefit from the increased online traffic.

Types of Journalism Much serious questioning of journalism took place during the widespread challenging of societal norms in the 1960s. Leading reporters such as James “­Scottie” Reston of the New York Times and Paul Anderson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, perceiving the limits of objective news reportage, developed interpretive reporting that attempted to situate the facts of a story in a broader context. Although critics argue that this approach represents life’s complexities no better than does objective reporting, interpretive reporting opened the door to a variety of new styles, including New Journalism, literary journalism, and advocacy journalism. New Journalism developed in the 1960s and 1970s during a period of great social, political, and economic upheaval in the United States that included both the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. Reporters striving to capture the spirit of these complex times and explore current social issues, such as the drug culture, often used literary techniques such as point of view, description of characters’ emotions, and first-person narrative. Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, and Norman Mailer were three prominent authors associated with New Journalism, a style that critics charged blurred the line between fact and fiction. The roots of literary journalism go back to muckraking, although this modern form does not always tackle social problems with the same fervor. Literary journalism stays closer to true, observable narrative, and its pace may be slow, with frequent, lengthy digressions. Because of standard article length and topic, literary journalism generally does not deal with breaking news, although such events may inspire subsequent stories. John McPhee employs immersive reporting, solid research, and excellent writing to create literary journalism. Other practitioners include Joan Didion, James Fallows, and Robert Kaplan, all of whom write on a range of issues, including foreign affairs and politics. Another descendent of the muckrakers, one that maintains its critique of society and commitment to political and social reform, is advocacy journalism. Prominent practitioners include Gloria Steinem (founder of the magazine Ms. and a leader of the women’s movement), Pete Hamill (one-time editor of the Daily News in New York), and Nicholas von Hoffman. Much of early environmental journalism was advocacy journalism.

  interpretive reporting Reporting that places the facts of a story in a broader context by relying on the reporter’s knowledge and experience.

ALTERNATIVE JOURNALISM Alternative journalism, or, as it was often called, radical journalism, departed considerably from the traditions of objective reporting. Its roots go farther back to radical and socialist UK newspapers published in the nineteenth century to express workers’ united voice and shared sense of injustice. Some radical papers had large circulations in their heyday, comparable to popular traditional papers. But because advertisers wanted neither to attract the working-class market nor to be associated with radical political movements, these papers struggled to stay afloat or ended up toning down their political rhetoric. As an outlet for stories not seen elsewhere, alternative journalism often ­purposely defied professional conventions, in both tone and topic, much as New

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Journalism did decades later. Despite alternative journalism’s fringe status throughout most of the twentieth century, some of its material would make its way into the mainstream. Magazines such as Mother Jones, The Progressive, and The Nation straddle the gap between radical and conventional. And alternative urban weeklies with edgy, contrarian coverage often geared to a younger audience, such as the Boston Phoenix and the Houston Press, exemplify the genre. Alternative journalism was given a new lease on life in 1999 during the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle when an ad hoc group of protesters, who felt the mainstream press was misreporting or underreporting, created their own independent media movement. Indymedia The Indypendent is a print and digital newspaper published by the quickly spread worldwide with the growth of the Internet. Indymedia group in New York. Although most Indymedia groups remain small, their decentralized structure and open publishing systems facilitate the contribution of stories by people who may not otherwise get involved in journalism. Indymedia NYC publishes professional-quality newspapers along with maintaining a robust website.

Discussion QuestionS: Describe the potential pitfalls of one of the alternative journalism types and how these may be avoided or overcome—if possible.

PUBLIC JOURNALISM Public journalism, or civic journalism, developed in the early 1990s in response to dissatisfaction with media treatment of social and political issues and concern about the apathy and cynicism among the general public this coverage possibly fostered—including an increasing distrust of journalists. Originating with longtime and respected professionals, public journalism takes a less radical approach that expands the watchdog role of the press while engaging the citizenry more actively in news creation and discussion. Public journalism strives for more nuanced reporting that avoids framing stories in terms of conflict and extremes. Various newspapers experimenting with public journalism have reported a higher level of readership trust in the press as well as some signs of increased civic participation and awareness of social and political issues. Some critics argue these efforts are insufficient to break down the barrier between professional journalists and public audiences; others claim they represent little more than boosterism, or advocacy. Partly because of this criticism from peers as well as citizens, public journalism has waned in recent years. Later studies in communities with papers that followed public-journalism principles noted no significant increase in political awareness or public participation. In the digital world, however, public journalism has thrived in the form of ProPublica, the first digital-only, not-for-profit news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. Known for its investigative reporting and enterprise journalism, ProPublica has produced extensive interactive and multimedia public service coverage of critical topics like the impact of Hurricane Katrina on doctors at a hospital cut

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off by floodwaters. ProPublica has also partnered with more than ninety news organizations, including the New York Times, USA Today, and, to extend its reach and capabilities. It also features an ongoing collection of watchdog reporting titled, in homage to the past, MuckReads. In addition, ProPublica provides interactive tutorials on digital reporting techniques, such as using Google Docs as a news-gathering tool. Debates on public journalism have also been an entree to further discussion of the challenges professionals face in the early twenty-first century with the rise of citizen journalism.

CITIZEN JOURNALISM The Internet and social media have accelerated the growth of citizen journalism, a broad With the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the U.S. military introduced a new approach field encompassing everything from blogging to managing journalists in the theater of war by requiring all 775 reporters and to Slashdot to more formal ventures that emphotographers to be embedded, meaning attached to military units.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: How does the practice of embedding journalists affect the ulate professional journalism in important quality of news reporting? Does being embedded help or hinder journalists’ pursuit aspects, such as Allvoices, OhmyNews, of the truth? ­Meporter, Examiner, and Wikinews. Some scholars even include consumer product-­ review sites as a form of citizen journalism. Unlike advocacy or alternative journalism, citizen journalism is usually not associated with an explicitly political or radical agenda, and its driving force has been citizens rather than professional journalists, as in public journalism. Consequently, mainstream journalism has been more willing to welcome these efforts, even if cautiously. Many news organizations, CNN’s iReport, for example, have tried to cultivate their audiences as sources of raw news footage. Other news organizations, notably newspapers, have adopted a more integrated and thorough approach in which citizen-journalists post news and stories on a stand-alone website or mobile app, perhaps partially cobranded with the newspaper, which publishes the best stories in a weekly edition. Still other organizations have conducted training sessions for citizen-journalists, teaching them interviewing, reporting, and writing skills. Mainstream critics claim that citizens are being used as unpaid reporters to fill holes in local news coverage resulting from staff cutbacks. AOL’s Patch, for example, employs a model in which thousands of unpaid citizen reporters cover more than 1,000 communities across the United States under the direction of hundreds of professional AOL editors. The track records of original citizen-journalism sites vary. OhmyNews, a South Korea-based site that operates much like a traditional news organization with paid editors and a hierarchical editing structure, has had mixed success. Although very popular and financially strong in South Korea, the English-language website version lost money and had to shut down, as did the Japanese OhmyNews. In 2005, citizen-journalism advocate Dan Gillmor launched Bayosphere to cover

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Wikinews is a citizen-journalism site that users can edit, as they can with Wikipedia.

the San Francisco Bay Area, but seven difficult months later he largely abandoned the project for practical and economic reasons. Citizen-journalism sites all emphasize participant conversation and interaction. As gatekeeping becomes gatewatching, and the line between the professional practitioner and the audience blurs, the journalist’s privileged position as arbiter of the news is undermined. The role of citizen journalism during the Arab Spring of 2011 illustrates the potential impact of such reporting. Videos uploaded to ­YouTube and reports provided via mobile social media proved pivotal in quickly getting out to the world firsthand eyewitness accounts from Tahrir Square and elsewhere. Despite the great potential to increase citizen engagement on local, national, and international levels, citizen journalism lacks a business model to promote sustainability and support paid reporters and editors. Nevertheless, it signals a shift toward more interactive citizen participation. As NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen observes, “Journalism should be a conversation, not a lecture.”

Discussion Questions: Go to a citizen-journalism site such as Wikinews and compare its news coverage with that of mainstream news sites. How are they similar, and how are they different?

AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE There is nothing sacred about the inverted-pyramid structure of news stories or the emphasis on fairness and balance. Most Americans do not realize that journalism can be practiced in various ways because any experience they might have with foreign news is likely limited to the English-language BBC, whose treatment resembles American coverage. An examination of news styles, from Europe to Asia and the Middle East, reveals a remarkable diversity in the writing, editing, and even selection of news.

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“Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) became a motto for freedom of speech and the press in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.  CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: How did religious leaders of different faiths respond to this particular massacre and to the general practice of religious satire? Do you agree or disagree with their positions and beliefs?

Reporters’ opinions and feelings may be more prevalent or obvious in ostensibly factual news accounts. Since the Arab Spring, for instance, the volume of news sources from the Middle East has expanded. Some new voices present a narrative of sympathy for Arab suffering and popular rage against U.S.-backed Arab governments, such as the ousted Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. In many countries, journalists still face censorship or licensing restrictions that naturally shape the kind of news produced. Journalists in many monarchies, from Norway to Jordan, for instance, are prohibited from publishing anything that might be deemed critical of the royal family. Dubbed “lèse majesté,” meaning “injured majesty” in Latin, these laws often carry stiff penalties for infringements, including prison sentences and harsh fines. In such environments, journalists may act more like government stenographers, simply recording meetings and events that the state deems important to publicize, with a state-approved editorial voice. For instance, a Muscat, Oman, court in 2012 sentenced four bloggers to jail for allegedly insulting the Sultan. Such penalties can have a chilling effect on journalism, even in a hot desert climate. As seen in early 2015 in Paris, objections to press coverage can even take the form of violent assaults on journalists. On January 7, 2015, Muslim extremists attacked a Paris publication, Charlie Hebdo (or Charlie Weekly), known for its satirical coverage of Islam, killing at least a dozen persons. Such terrorist attacks pose a threat to free and independent journalism everywhere.

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Journalism in the Digital World Mainstream news organizations have not always been quick to adopt new digital resources. Busy work schedules and corporate reluctance to subsidize professional training and development have contributed to this resistance. Clearly, journalists recognize the value of the Internet. And mobile devices, especially the multifunction smartphone, soon became a second vital device in the digital reporter’s toolkit. Some organizations are experimenting with far more radical digital innovation. Pew reports that as of 2013 “a growing list of media outlets, such as Forbes magazine, use technology by a company called Narrative Science to produce  content by way of algorithm [computer], no human reporting [writing] necessary.”16 At present, however, journalists confront a more pressing threat than the computer algorithm. The increased power of human audience members to communicate with journalists and with one another in a public forum, whether as a citizen-journalist or simply as a participant on a blog, is undermining the journalist’s traditional role of authority and gatekeeper. Now online readers can point out, quite publicly, when a journalist errs. News sites have found that if they do not provide a discussion forum, readers will simply go elsewhere to discuss stories and point out mistakes. As Table 8-1 illustrates, four of the top ten global news sites in July 2013 were based on print publications and three on television news networks or partnerships. Three originated online: Google News and Yahoo! News are essentially news aggregators, publishing stories composed by other outlets. The Huffington Post has developed acclaimed original reporting. The large online audience for news, although a good thing, presents challenges for the news industry in the form of increased competition and decreased advertising revenues. Digital platforms such as tablets and smartphones are also breathing new life into long-form journalism and nonfiction storytelling. The Atavist app features original text and multimedia nonfiction as well as award-winning magazine or book-length material from a variety of sources. Partners publishing via The Atavist include the Wall Street Journal; the Paris Review; and TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), a not-for-profit organization that shares provocative ideas. In one such TED story, the nonfiction tale The Sinking of the Bounty, Matthew Shaer investigates the tragic sinking of the ship used in the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty.” Advances in technology that have threatened traditional business models continue to change the role of digital news in overall patterns of media use. We can observe certain trends, however, that help us predict the future of online journalism in public news consumption.

NONTRADITIONAL SOURCES There are two types of nontraditional news sources: traditional outlets not typically viewed by the public and nonjournalism sites such as blogs and discussion groups. Reading an Indian newspaper online or viewing an Al Arabiya newscast to see how they cover a story exemplifies the former. The growth of the Internet and mobile media has made it substantially easier for the public to access these alternative news voices. Even looking at UK media coverage of international issues

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  Top Global News Sites

table 8-1 Rank























Source: eBizMBA,

can  often be a valuable and educational experience for Americans, especially English-­only speakers, who often receive a fairly narrow range of international news. A high degree of media literacy is especially helpful when assessing news sources and potential biases of alternative media. Social movements and activism inform the perspectives of certain Native American newspapers. Akwesasne Notes originated in 1968 partially in protest against a government-mandated toll on a bridge the Mohawks used to travel from one part of their reservation, or Nation, to another. The production of news in the United States in other languages, particularly Spanish, continues to flourish as the U.S. population becomes more diverse. American Spanish-language TV and online news media generally subscribe to the values and practices of mainstream English-language journalism but feature much greater international coverage. Some news sources, such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, featured satire, typically of politics or of mainstream news media. Although the creators and hosts of these kinds of programs do not call themselves journalists, their

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viewers often admit getting much of their daily “news” from these enormously popular shows. Viewers, often young and highly educated, appreciate the less mainstream, commercial, and parochial mindset that characterizes these programs. Nontraditional digital news sources increasingly view themselves as content providers unfettered by traditional publishers and gatekeepers., for example, publishes extensive news accompanied by video clips. Why would viewers go to CNN or ESPN when they can go straight to the source? Tweeting allows users to write and control their own personal narratives. Subscribing to an influential person’s Twitter account or blog can also point people to news that they would otherwise not discover. Celebrity tweets or blog posts often become news stories themselves. As personal control over one’s own narrative increases, however, professional objectivity and critical evaluation tend to decrease. You are unlikely to find, for example, an exposé on about the league’s financial wrongdoing. Still, will meet the needs of people who do not care about such news and simply want basketball scores and information on the latest trades.


  Slashdot effect When a smaller news site’s Web server crashes because of increased traffic after its mention on popular websites, named for a frequent occurrence on the very popular technology news site

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Online media use differs from traditional use in a number of ways. First, users are generally more active, visiting multiple websites for information. In addition, most prefer to skim material rather than read at length. Shorter attention spans mean greater competition to attract attention to a particular news story. Stories often feature less text and more interactive graphics or multimedia. Whereas top news sites might attract large numbers of viewers, these viewers don’t stay for long. Viewers spend on average only eighteen minutes a month, about half a minute a day, on Yahoo! News, for instance. is a site considered especially “sticky” because paid subscriptions are generally required, and the quality of journalism is high. However, its visitors stay an average of only nineteen minutes a month, the equivalent of spending only thirty-five seconds a day with a paper for which you pay a daily newspaper subscription. keeps visitors an average of only nine minutes a month, twenty seconds a day. The stickiest site, CNN Digital Network, keeps its visitors thirty-five minutes a month, about a minute a day. Overall, these numbers suggest that the digital news experience may lack depth. Readers accustomed to receiving regular news alerts via text and social media may visit a website or news app only when an alert pops up. This pattern fuels a 24/7 news cycle, forcing newspapers to publish frequent updates to keep up with the competition and capture at least a moment of a frenzied multitasker’s attention. Digital tracking of developments throughout the day allows broadcasters to plan accordingly for evening newscasts that offer both fresh material to viewers who are already familiar with a story and sufficient background for those who are not. Users who want not only essential facts but also context eagerly follow links accompanying stories to related stories or other websites. Story mentions and links on popular websites can end up generating massive volume that crashes a smaller news site’s web server—the Slashdot effect, named for a frequent occurrence on this very popular technology news site. From a business standpoint, though, media organizations want visitors to remain on their site. This raises the question of what hyperlinks to provide and how to provide them so that users are encouraged to linger or to explore and return.

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PERSONALIZATION The Internet allows users to personalize content, ranging from news on local weather to favorite sports teams to stock portfolios. Personalization, an engaging feature unique to online or mobile media, is transforming the way journalists write or produce stories. For example, a standard version of a story can be enhanced with database information on a user’s online behavior, location, or stated interests. Personalization is not without its downside, however. Personalized versions of the news may omit other important information without even identifying such omissions or changes. Highly personalized “Daily Me” news digests may also narrow people’s range of interests to such an extent that they have difficulty talking about other topics.

CONTEXTUALIZATION Users able to access a reporter’s raw material will still want someone to provide necessary context and interpretation. They prefer not to read an entire political speech or government report, for instance, to determine what, if anything, is important. Although users, for example, may be able to find an interactive map indicating the frequency and type of crime in their neighborhood within the past year, most crime-mapping sites do not provide any context. Users will not learn from mapping sites whether crime rates are increasing or decreasing or what happened to people charged with those crimes. Ideally, a site could provide all this information, along with links to past news stories on specific crimes and other relevant information. Mash-ups that combine geographic data overlaid with editorial content are becoming increasingly popular and easy to create. The real estate site Zillow, for example, lets users see house locations, estimated values, asking prices, and final selling prices.

Mash-ups like this one signal an emerging form of media content blended from multiple images.

CONVERGENCE Increasingly, video, audio, and interactive graphics supplement and enhance online text; similarly, text can enrich primarily video stories by providing greater depth and context and different access to information. Truly interactive multimedia experiences that allow the user to stop or replay segments at will, skip familiar information, and learn background information as needed clearly distinguish online journalism from print predecessors. Technology has changed not only how news is produced and presented but how it is gathered. Digital and video cameras have made photography and videography much easier for journalists, so much so that a single reporter can easily video-record interviews or events for a multimedia news story. Voice of America radio journalists, having been trained in digital-video shooting and editing, can enhance their online stories with video. Other news organizations, such as the BBC, are training many of their journalists in video techniques. Convergence requires journalists to be competent, if not necessarily expert, with the range of tools in the digital toolkit.

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Maintaining Standards in the Digital Age One of the challenges of digital convergence is maintaining the highest ethical standards in journalism and media when conditions are changing constantly and rapidly. Journalists and other media professionals often have to operate quickly with fewer resources to support their efforts and decisions and where digital technology has sometimes laid hidden ethical traps.

Widespread protests erupted in August 2014 after a police officer in Ferguson, MO, shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

One such instance occurred during coverage of the ongoing social movement inspired by events in Ferguson, Missouri.

In August of 2014, an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, age 18, was involved in an interaction on the street with police officer Darren Wilson. A struggle ensued and Brown was shot and killed. Widespread protests erupted shortly after objecting to police violence against black men, not only in Ferguson but across the nation. Covering the event and subsequent protests, on ­November 30, 2014, the New York Times ran online a digital photo of the home of the police officer at the heart of the controversy. Times policy normally prohibits publication of a home address of a law enforcement officer, especially during an ongoing situation. But encoded in the digital image were the precise geographic coordinates of the officer’s home, giving anyone with some digital savvy the ability to extract the address. The Times quickly retracted the photo in response to objections, but the Internet genie is not easily put back in the digital bottle. Once on the Web, the photo was widely accessed and distributed, and the officer began to receive death threats linked to his home address. The Times claims the release of the home address was an inadvertent mistake, and it no doubt was. But the bigger question is whether in the age of digital connectivity and Big Data, news and media organizations in general need to take their ethics game to an entirely new level to maintain high ethical standards.

The Business of Journalism The early years of the twenty-first century have been challenging for the media, particularly news organizations. Companies that predicted new business opportunities in convergence, such as the former AOL Time Warner or Bertelsmann, invested greatly in developing media services that never made a profit. Those that adopted a more cautious approach see even fewer reasons to invest in new media technologies. Nevertheless, even executives who have been burned say that they simply moved too quickly and that change will inevitably occur. Advertising revenues have steadily declined for the past several years, profoundly so in print media; and, although growing, online advertising still comprises only a fraction of overall revenues. These losses, combined with a recession that began in December 2007, have strained news organizations severely. In 2008, the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) found that the newspaper industry had suffered its largest drop in thirty years, with a 4.4 percent workforce decrease from 2007. Jobs continue to be cut, although more recently at a reduced rate.

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In a 2011 ASNE survey, newspaper editors cited three main challenges: (1) how to maintain quality writing and editing despite staff and budget cutbacks, (2) how to adapt roles and workflow processes rapidly to the 24/7 newsroom, and (3) how to take advantage of mobile media to generate revenue opportunities and reach more readers. The spread of the digital metered paywall as introduced by the New York Times in March 2011 signals a likely direction for the ­twenty-first-century business model. In 1997, the Wall Street Journal became the first major newspaper to require users to pay for digital content. However, until the New York Times adopted a limited version of this model, few followed suit. Not only are layoffs common, but entire news bureaus are closing down. In 2000, Cox newspapers had thirty correspondents in Washington, DC, to cover the inauguration of President George Bush. In 2009, it closed its Washington bureau. Some news organizations have taken what are considered even more drastic steps. In 2009, the respected Christian Science Monitor and the 146-year-old Seattle PostIntelligencer, a Hearst paper, opted for digital rather than print editions. A growing number of newspapers have reduced their print publication schedule to three times a week, publishing only digital news the remainder of the week. These trends will continue with newspapers, especially as tablet computers become more popular.

SALARIES Salaries for journalism professionals vary with the medium (television is the highest paid, print media the lowest, digital in between); location or market (the larger the market, the higher the pay); position (ownership, higher management, or celebrity status correlates positively with pay); experience; and a variety of other factors, including sex (men are generally paid more than women, as unfair as that may be). Because salaries and overall compensation vary so widely—from $15,000 a year to many millions of dollars—crude averages are relatively meaningless. In general, network television offers the highest salaries for midlevel producers. National magazines and newspapers pay fairly well, whereas papers in midand small-sized markets pay poorly relative to similar-level jobs in public relations,

  Salary Range for Journalists by Experience

Figure 8-1

Less than a year 1–4 years 5–9 years 10–19 years 20 years and above

$18,000– $37,000 $20,000– $50,000 $23,000– $69,000 $28,000– $83,000 $35,000– $120,000


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for example. Internet media salaries are good, and stock option plans made a few journalists instant millionaires when the companies went public. Many more, however, missed that gravy train in the dot-com bust.


Bob Butler, reporter at KCBS radio, is president of the National Association of Black Journalists, 2013–2015.

American newsrooms have been slow to change. In 1950, African American journalist Marvel Cooke (1903–2000) was hired as a reporter and feature writer for the New York Daily Compass. She was the only woman and the only black person on the paper’s staff and among the first blacks to work for any white-owned daily newspaper. The ASNE regularly conducts a survey on employment in U.S. daily newspapers. The numbers of minority and women hires have fallen short of mirroring the percentages found in the general population and fall shorter still when it comes to management. Because of layoffs and hiring freezes throughout the newspaper industry in recent years, the percentage of minority employees has actually risen slightly, to just over 13 percent. Industry watchers worry that the persistent dominance of white males in newsrooms skews news coverage toward material that appeals to them, content that does not reflect the communities of readers or viewers accurately. A 2012 Extra! study found that on the opinion pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, Latinos had less than 2 percent of the bylines. None of these papers even had a Latino staff columnist. In more than a year of political book reviews on C-SPAN or the New York Times Book Review, not one of the 432 authors, reviewers, or interviewers was Latino.17

Media Careers The employment outlook for journalists in the digital age is generally not good, largely a reflection of the state of the overall economy and related budget and staff cutbacks. After a decade of strong employment and business growth, the twentyfirst century got off to a troubled start that hit media and technology companies especially hard. Still, research from the University of Georgia on employment trends in journalism and media fields showed a slight uptick in 2011 and 2012 that stalled in 2013. Although the 2013 launch of Al Jazeera America provided new employment opportunities for some two hundred journalists, it was not enough to offset the overall stagnant job market for journalists. Moreover, salaries are flat, as data from the University of Georgia’s annual survey shows.18 Still, these are exciting times for journalists, especially those with an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. Online and mobile journalism, still in their infancy, will play an increasingly prominent role, and possibilities remain for journalists in traditional print, radio, and television if they are willing to adopt new methods and approaches utilizing the digital tools available. Even in traditional newsrooms, journalists now need a wide variety of digital skills and a solid understanding of online and mobile media’s unique characteristics. Today’s journalists must be as comfortable telling a story through an interactive, multimedia graphic as they are through a traditional text narrative. They may not need the same depth of technical knowledge as programmers or Web designers, but they need to be able to converse intelligently with them as stories are produced. In

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addition to strong writing and storytelling skills, contemporary journalists will benefit from knowing how to use spreadsheets, statistics, databases, code, algorithms, and social media to craft stories from complex raw information, such as Twitter feeds on breaking news events. No specific college major is necessarily best for journalists, although most have degrees in the humanities or social sciences or journalism itself. A double major in journalism and the natural or physical sciences, or business is a great advantage for journalists specializing in those fields. Yet regardless of undergraduate major, a focus on writing, editing, and storytelling is crucial for a successful career. Students working at a college newspaper or digital news operation have the opportunity to experience this profession firsthand and publish stories, valuable clips that news organizations will expect job candidates to supply.

LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD Today’s 24/7 news cycle and recent budget and staff cuts mean less time to polish the final product and increased dependence on other sources to provide news. Yet despite its various perceived weaknesses and evident challenges, news remains the bedrock of journalism in its mission not only to inform the public of significant events but also to provide important context that helps people better understand these events. The Internet and digital media are transforming journalism, change that the profession initially resisted rather than embraced. Consequently, many news organizations, especially newspapers, have only recently begun trying to figure out ways to live in the digital world. As advertisers go elsewhere to find audiences, news media are left scrambling to stay afloat and adjust to new realities. Foremost among these is a shift toward audience participation, now considered crucial to the practice of journalism and key to a truly healthy democracy. Despite all this turmoil, the employment picture for journalism graduates has brightened. Rapid industry change has created new jobs for candidates with “the right stuff” for the convergent newsroom, where professionals no longer declare themselves to be a either a print journalist or a broadcast journalist. The former may be expected to shoot or record multimedia with a digital-video camera or audio recorder. Similarly, the latter are being asked to write text stories to accompany video. The convergent journalist, although not an expert in every type of media, is comfortable with various technologies and with social media. Although increasingly important, technical expertise alone does not guarantee a successful career. Internalizing and practicing the values of journalism, especially a commitment to truth, accuracy, and fairness, is still paramount. Quality writing and compelling storytelling, especially if enriched with multimedia, are also essential. Whereas knowing how to use certain multimedia tools, such as basic image editing, is required, knowing which digital tool to use and when is even more important. Journalism has always been fundamentally concerned with knowledge creation and management. Good reporters have extensive files of sources and contacts they can turn to when they need to know something quickly, and they have developed a sense for discerning good information from bad. In the world of convergent journalism, this ability becomes even more important. With the proliferation of

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potential sources for information, the public needs to hear trusted editorial voices that can identify and interpret who and what is reliable and significant and why. More than any other media professionals, journalists are equipped to serve this function, perhaps in closer collaboration with citizen-journalists or in new storytelling formats that invite audience participation.


A Nose for News

1. (T/F) The FCC must license broadcast journalists, unlike their mobile news counterparts.

7. (T/F) Some of the most popular news websites now are citizen-journalism sites.

2. How would you define “news” in one sentence?

8. How does a 24/7 news cycle affect news organizations?

3. What publisher was the model for Orson Welles’ classic movie Citizen Kane? 4. What two values have begun to replace the goal of objectivity in journalism today? 5. What is a pseudo-event, and how does it relate to news? 6. How has digital-first publishing affected journalism?

9. (T/F) Employment trends show signs of improvement in many news organizations. 10. On average and other things being equal, including years of experience and media market size, who makes more money—a journalist or a PR professional?

10. PR professional. conference. 7. False. 8. A bigger news hole to fill, shorter and continuous deadlines, and changes in roles and work-flow processes. 9. True. ANSWERS: 1. False. 3. William Randolph Hearst. 4. Fairness and balance. 5. An event created to attract media attention, such as a press

FURTHER READING The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect. Bill Kovach, Tom Rosenstiel (2001) Three Rivers Press. Slow News. Peter Laufer (2011) Sironi Editore. News About News: American Journalism in Peril. Leonard Downie Jr., Robert G. Kaiser (2002) Knopf. Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy. James Fallows (1997) Vintage. Custodians of Conscience. Theodore Lewis Glasser (1998) Columbia University Press. Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press. Michael Schudson (2008) Polity. The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age. Philip Meyer (2004) University of Missouri Press. The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution That Will Begin the World Again. Robert McChesney, John Nichols (2011) Nation Books. Digitizing the News: Innovation in Online Newspapers. Pablo Boczkowski (2005) MIT Press. Convergent Journalism: The Fundamentals of Multimedia Reporting. Stephen Quinn (2005) Peter Lang Publishers.

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Convergent Journalism: An Introduction. Stephen Quinn, Vincent F. Filak (2005) Focal Press. The Elements of Online Journalism. Rey Rosales (2006) iUniverse. We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. Dan Gillmor (2006) O’Reilly Media. Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy. Alex Jones (2011) Oxford University Press. Page One: Inside the New York Times and the Future of Journalism. David Folkenflik (2011) Public Affairs. Literary Journalism. Norm Sims, Mark Kramer (1995) Ballantine Books. Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism That Changed the World. John Pilger (2005) Thunder’s Mouth Press. The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour—and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News. Sheila Weller (2014) Penguin Press.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 261 Strategic Communications 264 Advertising 282 Public Relations 288 Changing Trends in Advertising and PR

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9 Advertising and Public Relations

The Power of Persuasion


ositioning a company, product, or person is a challenging core activity in public relations (PR); crisis response to a position in peril, an onerous one. Untoward events that swiftly sully a carefully cultivated image test the mettle of even the most seasoned and accomplished PR professionals. For high-profile figures, whose every move is scrutinized by fans and critics alike, damage control can prove especially problematic. And when the documented missteps of a politician, actor, or athlete surface in the media and go viral, as is so often the case in our digital age, a crisis can quickly escalate into a disaster whose effective management may offer the only hope for salvaging reputations and careers. Enter or, rather, exit Ray Rice, from an Atlantic City elevator, dragging his apparently unconscious fiancé, Janelle Palmer, by her shoulders. Naturally, a witness recorded the horrific incident, and naturally, TMZ, a media outlet that traffics in Hollywood scandal and gossip, broke the news, complete with damning footage. As NFL training camps started in the summer of 2014, when conversation on sports and social media typically turns to early predictions about winners and losers, the spotlight shone brightly instead on the disgraced running back for the Baltimore Ravens and the disgraceful NFL reaction to a shocking video that provided seemingly incontrovertible evidence of abuse. The initial NFL response appeared woefully insufficient, an assessment supported by a subsequent recording released in September (again by TMZ). The NFL commissioner claimed to have no prior knowledge of this second video that showed Rice knocking his fiancé unconscious in the elevator, and the leading rusher for the Ravens, who had initially only been suspended, was promptly fired.1 It was too little, too late, for most. The reputation of professional sports has long suffered for failing to satisfactorily address acts of domestic violence committed by its players. And the handling of the Ray Rice situation was no exception. The management of this crisis did not succeed in improving relations with a skeptical and outraged public, leaving the NFL with a metaphorical black eye.


Describe the overview of strategic communications.


Explain the theoretical foundations of advertising and public relations.


Describe the purpose and form of advertising and public relations.


Outline the history and structure of the advertising and public relations industries.


Identify various new types of advertising and PR strategies with digital media.


Examine the impact of digital technologies on advertising and public relations.


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Antidomestic-violence activists felt compelled to take matters into their own hands, featuring a physical black eye to a powerful effect on social media in an effort to pressure NFL advertisers. Cover Girl had launched a “Get Your Game Face On” campaign portraying female fans sporting jerseys and makeup in the various team colors. A digitally doctored Ravens image dramatically transformed the model’s look and the ad’s message. Beneath the purple eye shadow appeared a huge reddish black eye, an image that quickly became a meme, often with the hashtag #Goodellmustgo.2 Cover Girl did not withdraw its NFL sponsorship, nor did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell resign. Nevertheless, this digital grassroots movement succeeded in increasing public awareness and meaningful dialog about domestic abuse.

Many diverse forces shape mass-communication media. Among the most important are advertising and public relations (PR), types of strategic communications linked by an emphasis on persuasion as well as a big-picture view informed by research. In this chapter, we examine the nature and history of these two essential media industries and their adaptation to the age of digitization and convergence. Advertising has traditionally been the method by which companies or stores reach a mass audience, utilizing the distribution system newspapers or electronic media outlets have created. Public relations has typically involved managing the public persona or reputation of a company, also typically through media outlets and their mass-distribution networks. In a digital, networked world, however, almost anyone can distribute information cheaply. It would seem that companies could now eliminate advertising costs by contacting audiences directly. Although true to some extent, the practice is less prevalent than one would think. Companies may have expertise in their fields, but they do not always understand how best to persuade their target audiences or how to best produce media content. The expertise of strategic-communications professionals is often needed to reach audiences with powerful, persuasive messages and to create an enduring brand or company image. Advertising, the most prevalent form of media content, is paid for by a forprofit or not-for-profit organization, a political campaign, or a wealthy individual. Advertisements, whether in print, on broadcast radio and television, on billboards, online, or via mobile devices, provide much of the basic financial revenue that pays for the creation and delivery of media content. Two-thirds of most newspapers and magazines are filled with advertisements (not including advertising inserts). Even though most television programming time is devoted to content rather than commercials, consider the number of times the audience sees the same commercial during the course of a program, what advertising media planners call “frequency of exposure.” Studies have shown that children tend to remember commercial jingles and catchphrases better than basic facts about U.S. government or history.3 PR has become increasingly important for all types of organizations and for famous individuals. Historically, many organizations have sought to influence media content and News conferences or other scheduled PR announcements intended thus public opinion. Positive media coverage can increase to attract favorable publicity are examples of earned media.

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knowledge of a company while enhancing its image and credibility. Contemporary public relations uses social media to engage the public or stakeholders in timely and interactive discourse in ways that were not possible in the mass-­ communication era. Unlike advertisements, public relations material is not purchased content but rather earned media. A staged event or press release may become the basis of a news story. Awards ceremonies or news conferences, for example, suggest article ideas to journalists. Public relations professionals generate favorable publicity for clients and ensure that any potentially damaging information is framed in the least harmful way. During crisis communications situations, such as the disastrous 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, PR people work to mitigate negative press coverage. Most news media depend on the PR function of corporate, government, or not-for-profit organizations for information in various forms such as scheduled announcements, research studies or reports, corporate financial statements, interviews with executives and employees, and so forth. One measure of the effectiveness of PR is how many news outlets publish or air material based on what the organization has produced.


  earned media Favorable publicity prompted by a public relations source rather than advertising, such as a news conference, an event, or a press release; the opposite of paid media, such as advertising or product placements.

Strategic Communications Central to a range of fields, including advertising, PR, and internal or corporate communications, strategic communications aim to persuade an audience to think or behave as the communicator wishes. Part of what makes this task challenging is knowing which media channel will be most effective for delivering a particular message to a particular audience. Some companies, for example, have been heavily criticized in the media for delivering notices of layoffs via emails rather than face to face—or even worse, employees hearing about layoffs in the media before they are informed from management. Research on persuasion has identified various types of appeals, ranging from presenting scientific evidence to celebrity endorsement to attractive colors in the company logo. Perhaps the most important factor in successful persuasion is the audience, or, more accurately, knowing and understanding the audience, what they think and feel, their likes and dislikes, and many other factors about them. A large direct-email campaign, for example, does little good if your audience communicates primarily through text messaging or Facebook. Of course, audiences are evolving. Digital, networked media increasingly enable the public to be active participants in a dialog rather than merely passive receivers of messages from large organizations. Strategic communications attempt to persuade target audiences to act in a certain way. Perhaps you want them to change their behavior by quitting smoking or eating more healthfully. Or maybe you want them to donate to a cause, email their senator, vote for a political candidate, buy your product (or buy more of your product), or maybe just “Like” you on Facebook. What kind of message will most likely persuade people to take the desired action? Will a personalized message be most effective, or will an advertising campaign on TV or online be the best way to reach and convince them? How should the message be crafted, and what tone should it convey? Can it be done in such a way that encourages people to send the message to others in their social network?

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The U.S. television industry holds its annual TV upfronts in May, when the industry pitches upcoming new shows to advertisers.

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Strategic communications increasingly use social media to reach their audience. Companies like Dunkin Donuts use their Facebook pages to highlight pictures of their customers.

These concerns apply equally to an executive proposing company expansion to the board of directors as to a company launching a new product or a not-for-profit seeking more volunteers or donors. Here, we will focus on advertising and PR and leave internal corporate communications aside, but the principles are largely the same in terms of the need to know your audience and what will best influence them.

PERSUASIVE COMMUNICATIONS The most effective campaigns use persuasive techniques that encourage audiences to agree with the persuader’s point in an apparently natural or commonsense way. Audience members may have started out thinking one thing before being exposed to the message, but afterward think differently, often feeling like they came to the conclusion themselves. Unlike coercion, in which people are forced to change because of a real or perceived threat, persuasion often involves people freely persuading themselves. We may think of persuasive communications as a modern phenomenon that developed along with the rise of mass communications. Its roots go back, however, to at least the time of the Greek philosophers and their study of rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Rhetoric was one of the three classical areas of learning that Advertisers carefully consider a range of factors to make ads any educated person should know, along with logic and grammar. as persuasive as possible. Despite strong objections by the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who valued truth, the Sophists, a group of Greek philosophers focused en  rhetoric tirely on rhetoric, taught whomever could pay them and saw the truth as largely One of the ancient arts of discourse unimportant, something even perhaps in the eye of the beholder: the most importhat focuses on the art of persuasion. tant aspect of an argument was whether it was persuasive. Rhetoric remains a foundation of politics, business, and life. In an age when more people than ever can speak publicly, the ability to persuade and make your voice heard above other voices becomes even more vital.

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At least two dozen major modern scientific theories of persuasive communication and audience decision making help explain or provide models of persuasion that guide the media campaigns of advertising and public relations. Most such theories include certain assumptions about how our thoughts and emotions affect our behavior. These can be broadly categorized as follows: 1. People’s behavior and actions are somehow linked to their cognitions about

the world, which generally include attitudes, beliefs, and values, as well as their general knowledge and social influences. 2. How people process information about the world (thinking deeply about

issues or only looking at superficial cues) affects what messages they find most persuasive. 3. A persuader’s credibility, authority, and attractiveness all can contribute to

successful persuasion, although which is most effective depends on the type of message and audience. One theory of note takes a different viewpoint. The theory of cognitive ­dissonance claims that we act first and then rationalize or create reasons for our behavior afterward to make our actions consistent with self-perceived notions of who we are. This theory helps explain a range of otherwise puzzling behaviors, such as why freshmen subject themselves to humiliating hazing rituals to join a fraternity or sorority to which they become intensely loyal.

  theory of cognitive dissonance Theory of persuasion that states we act first and then rationalize our behavior afterward to make our actions consistent with selfperceived notions of who we are.

THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN PERSUASION Because people can only experience so many things directly, media are the obvious means by which the public becomes aware of a product or an issue. Getting an advertisement on national television seen by millions simultaneously may have a certain effect, but mere awareness is not enough. Too often, marketers assume that once people know about their merchandise or cause, they will want to buy it or participate. This is not the case. Awareness is only the first—and in many ways, the easiest—step in the process of persuasion. Still, the media often have their own kind of credibility. An appearance on national television may confer on someone an air of authority as an expert. You are more likely to watch a YouTube video received from a trusted friend than from someone you do not know. So Jade Goody used her fame as a reality TV star in the UK to publicize the effective are the media in creating and establishing need for women to test for cervical cancer, from which she eventually fame that many celebrities are now known simply for died. being celebrities and not for being singers, actors, or another kind of talented performer.   direct effects model Although the direct effects model of media influence has been largely disModel of mass communication that proved, we still believe that media can influence the public in certain ways. From claims media have direct and this assumption, it follows that media-based communications campaigns can be measurable effects on audiences, strategically designed to produce the attitude and behavior shifts that persuaders such as encouraging them to buy desire. products or to become violent.

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: If you are a member of a fraternity or sorority, consider your initiation ritual when becoming a member. Did the ceremony or ritual make you feel more loyal to the group or less loyal? Why do you think that is so? If you live in a dorm or off campus, what are your thoughts on initiation ceremonies or rituals for the Greek system?

Advertising   advertising An ancient form of human communication designed to inform or persuade members of the public with regard to some product or service.

  rating Used in broadcast media to explain the number of households that watched a particular show.

  cost per thousand (CPM) Standard unit for measuring advertising rates for publications based on circulation.

  performance-based advertising Any form of online ad buying in which an advertiser pays for results rather than paying for the size of the publisher’s audience or the CPM.

  search-engine marketing Paying for certain keywords to show up high in rankings in a search engine, such as Google or Bing.

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Advertising is an ancient form of human communication whose modern incarnation features typically sponsored or paid-for commercial messages designed to inform and persuade others to buy a good or service, accept a point of view, or act in some fashion desired by the sender. Print and electronic media that developed around this advertising model are in the business of selling mass audiences to advertisers. From an advertiser’s perspective, the media exist primarily as the means to gather an audience. Communications professionals, while recognizing some truth in this view, would counter that media content must still be interesting, useful, or entertaining to attract an audience. Media organizations determine how much they can charge advertisers for space in their print or digital publication or airtime on their station based on the number of audience members reached or delivered to the advertiser. In broadcasting, this number is the rating. In print and online media, it is the CPM, or cost per thousand audience members. The online model is still evolving, however; and CPM may include the cost per thousand page views or unique visitors to a site, a Web page, or a mobile app. In performance-based advertising, also used online, advertisers pay for results only, such as actual “click-throughs” to the advertiser’s site rather than total page views. One of the largest areas of online advertising has become search-engine marketing, discussed in more detail later. Advertising rates vary according to the size and quality of the target audience. In radio, for example, the most expensive time to purchase advertising is “a.m. and p.m. drive time” when audiences are at their peak as drivers commute to and from work. An advertiser for a youth-oriented product may choose to show its commercial on prime-time MTV rather than a late-night network slot because, although smaller, the audience is a better fit for their product. A media outlet whose audience is upscale and has disposable income would generally be more appealing to an advertiser than an audience without much spending power.

THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF ADVERTISING In its earliest form, advertising was conducted as face-to-face, word-of-mouth communication in which buyers and sellers negotiated and bartered for goods and services. In ancient Egypt, papyrus advertisements were posted in common, public areas. The printing press gave rise in the fifteenth century to advertising in masscommunication settings, usually in the form of posters, flyers, or broadsheets. Broadsheet advertisements were a popular technique to attract people to emigrate to the New World. Colonists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries could obtain information, from where to buy groceries and patent medicines to when a ship was sailing. By the mid-1800s, ads had become a mainstay for U.S. firms marketing products and services, designed to stand out more prominently from surrounding

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Madam C. J. Walker

Born on a Louisiana cotton plantation in 1867 to former slaves, Sara Breedlove became the first female African ­American self-made millionaire in the United States. At the time of her death in 1919, she was also the richest African American woman. She made her fortune creating and effectively promoting her own line of beauty and hair products

for black women through her company, the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, using the name by which she was known. Walker’s ads were distinctive and effective for several reasons, including their sensitive and attractive portrayals of black women, with Walker herself often serving as the model. At the time, most other ads targeting black women used whites to sell the products or featured unfavorable, stereotypical depictions of African Americans. Walker’s ads encouraged sales of the product lines and invited readers to apply to be a local company representative, much like Avon today. Madam Walker was not just a pioneer of advertising but also a champion of social causes. After the East St. Louis Race Riot of 1917, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated two hundred blacks, Walker joined in a national effort to pass legislation making lynching a federal crime. Walker was also a philanthropist and an inspiration to others, especially women. In one of her many lectures, she once said, “I want to say to every woman present, don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come . . . you have to get up and make them.”

editorial content. Individuals also advertised their unique services. In 1856, publisher Robert Bonner ran the first full-page advertisement to promote his own literary paper, the New York Ledger.4 At this time there were no standards in advertising, and medicinal advertisers often made extravagant and untrue claims about a product’s curative powers. The early twentieth century saw the number of mass-produced and packaged goods expand along with the automobile industry. Today, the automobile industry is the largest advertiser, followed by retail, business, and consumer services.

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Advertising for cigarettes and other tobacco products grew during the twentieth century, but not without criticism. In 1919, the magazine Printer’s Ink warned against “an insidious campaign to create women smokers” in reaction to the portrayal of women smoking in cigarette ads.

Advertising Agencies

  ad-agency commission A percentage amount of the cost of an advertisement taken by the advertising agency that helped create and sell the ad.

Early advertisers bought newspaper space and targeted local audiences primarily. Not until the 1860s did ads appear in nationally distributed monthly magazines. Among the most successful early sellers of newspaper advertising space was Volney B. Palmer, who created both the first advertising agency in 1841 and the long-standing business model for the industry, providing his advertising clients with circulation data and copies of the ads in addition to deducting an ad-agency commission from the advertising publication fee as compensation for his efforts. When the penny press lowered the cost of purchasing a newspaper to a penny from six cents, advertising had to make up for the lost subscription revenues, and the advertising business grew quickly. By the 1860s, there were more than twenty advertising agencies in New York City. When N. W. Ayer & Son, founded in 1869, bought Palmer’s firm, the trend toward consolidation began. Ayer built on Palmer’s basic media-billing model, which charged clients a fee for placing ads in newspapers and magazines, and he established a standardized ad-agency commission: 15 percent of the total media billings. This agency also set the standard for creative services, with some of the most famous ad slogans of the twentieth century including the De Beers tagline “A diamond is forever”; AT&T’s “Reach out and touch someone”; and Camel cigarettes’ “I’d walk a mile for a Camel.” In 2002, parent group Bcom3 reluctantly retired the venerable Ayer name. The new electronic media in the twentieth century drew heavily on the resources of the advertising industry, which used radio and television effectively to promote a wide variety of products and services throughout the United States and internationally. Television quickly surpassed print media as the main vehicle for reaching a national advertising market. Online advertising is today the fastestgrowing segment, second in volume only to combined cable and broadcast TV advertising. In 2013, for the first time ever, online advertising surpassed broadcast TV advertising. Mobile advertising and video continue to be large and show strong growth.

Commercial Television Because three of the four early TV networks were affiliated with the radio networks, questions arose: not about whether to support television through advertising, as had been the case originally with radio, but about the best way to do it. Commercials quickly became a mainstay on television. The year 1948 established an early high-water mark for advertising, with 933 sponsors buying TV time. Considering the relatively small number of television sets sold at the time, this indicates how eager advertisers were to reach mass audiences in the new medium. Variety reported in 1957 that during a typical week, viewers saw 420 commercials totaling five hours, eight minutes. In the early days of television, the names of advertisers, who often sponsored whole shows, were included as part of the title, such as Texaco Star Theater. The not-for-profit Television Bureau of Advertising, founded in 1953, responded to the emergence of television as the leading medium for advertising with a variety of tools and resources.

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Tony Schwartz created “The Daisy Spot,” a TV commercial that aired only once as a paid spot but is considered by many the most influential commercial of all time.

One of the most talented advertising professionals in the audiovisual realm was Tony Schwartz, who died in 2008 and whose career spanned most of the twentieth century. A master of implied messages, he became famous for “The Daisy Spot,” a 1964 advertisement considered among the most powerful political ads ever aired.5 It cleverly suggested that Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater would likely get the United States embroiled in a nuclear war. Commercial developments continued to reshape the TV landscape. In the 1960s, ABC extended the station break between programs from thirty to forty seconds to increase profits, and other networks soon followed suit. Within a few years, standard commercial lengths reached one minute. By 1971, networks increased profits further by cutting the length from sixty seconds to thirty without reducing rates a corresponding 50 percent. Networks began the practice of advertising “piggybacking,” running messages for two related products from one company in the same one-minute commercial. In 1969, New York’s WOR-TV became the first station to air an infomercial, a thirty- or sixty-minute program of exclusively commercial content. Also in 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court applied the Fairness Doctrine to cigarette advertising, giving antismoking groups equal air time to reply to tobacco commercials. In 1970, a congressional ban on radio and TV cigarette advertising took effect, costing the broadcast business roughly $220 million in revenues. The hard-liquor industry voluntarily banned TV advertising for sixty years, and initial attempts in the early 2000s to advertise hard liquor drew heated criticism. Despite public disapproval, advertising continued; and today, such commercials, often targeting an audience in their twenties or early thirties, can frequently be seen during prime time.

Internet Although today we are accustomed to a range of advertisements on the Web, the Internet began as a resolutely noncommercial space, created with taxpayers’ money by engineers and computer scientists motivated more by its potential for expanding communication and knowledge than by profit. The first email marketing message, commonly called spam, after the processed meat (whose inspiration

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  infomercial Also called “paid programming,” a thirty- or sixty-minute television show that seeks to sell a product and that usually involves a celebrity spokesperson and customer testimonials.

  Fairness Doctrine Adopted by the FCC in 1949, it required broadcasters to seek out and present all sides of a controversial issue they were covering. It was discarded by the FCC in 1987.

  spam Unwanted mass emailing from advertisers.

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  banner ad Original form of advertising on the Web, it appears across the top of a website.

was a Monty Python sketch that uses the term), was sent on May 3, 1978, by DEC, a now-defunct computer maker to all of four hundred people on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. In 1994, immigration lawyers Canter and Siegel sent an email advertisement to over six thousand on Usenet. Prompting harsh backlash from the online community, this event is now widely held to be the start of the commercialization of the Internet, although seemingly quaint in comparison to the billions of spam messages sent worldwide today. The first advertisements on the Web appeared on Hotwired in 1994, the online version of Wired magazine. Hotwired offered space on the website to fourteen advertisers in the form of the now-familiar banner ad. However, because online connection speeds were slow in 1994, the ads could not be large graphics and remained fairly small, with HTML text primarily. Today, increased bandwidth allows for multimedia ads, and advertisers are considering new types of advertising, including increased use of video, to further attract the consumer’s attention.

THE RISE OF BRANDING   branding Process of creating in the consumer’s mind a clear identity for a particular company’s product, logo, or trademark.

Some products highlight their name to enhance brand recognition, whereas others are easily identified simply by their logo.

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Branding, a process intertwined with the growth of advertising, creates in the consumer’s mind a clear identity for a particular company’s product or trademark. Derived from the Old Norse word “brandr,” branding means literally “to burn” and came to mean burning a mark or brand into a product.6 Branding via advertising developed in the 1890s and early 1900s as companies sought to distinguish their products in an increasingly cluttered and competitive marketplace. With little differentiation among similar products in terms of what they provided or the ingredients they contained, the only way to appear different was to present a memorable brand, or identity, to consumers. To establish a brand’s uniqueness, a catchy slogan and distinctive visual identity are created and then advertised across multiple media, with frequent exposure to the desired audience segment or target group. Among the first to do this successfully was Campbell’s soup, which featured the artwork of Grace Weidersein in 1904 depicting “The Campbell’s Kids,” images that appear in its advertising to this day. Another highly successful campaign was launched in 1970 to promote Coca-Cola, whose “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” commercial became an instant hit. The popular song even sold a million records. Brands are especially powerful tools to help distinguish among very similar competitors. Although Pepsi has traditionally been behind Coke in sales, in the 1970s, Pepsi’s double-blind taste test (neither the tester nor the person running the test knew which was Coke or Pepsi) found, surprisingly, that more people preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coke if they did not know the brands. The subsequent advertising campaign touting this increased Pepsi’s sales while Coke sales declined. This prompted Coke in 1985 to introduce a new, sweeter formula—New Coke—which was soundly rejected by loyal Coke drinkers. Within three months, the company reintroduced and rebranded original Coke as Coca-Cola Classic, deciding to call the new formula Coke II. Ironically, after the reintroduction of the original Coke, sales outpaced both the new formula and Pepsi. By the mid-1980s, Coke II was only sold in the United States and Canada; and by 2002, it was discontinued entirely. The whole episode is considered a cautionary tale for marketers about branding and about fierce consumer loyalties that may not be apparent from typical market research.

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So hugely successful are some advertising campaigns that their brand names become synonymous with the product itself. Many consumers consider “Kleenex” (introduced in 1924) simply the generic name for facial tissue and “Xerox” generic for photocopy. This can be both good and bad for the advertiser. Consumers with extremely high brand-name awareness who go shopping for a particular product whose name has come to represent generic alternatives may actually end up buying another brand. Brands are almost always trademarked. Companies can sue for trademark infringement, claiming that the copycat brand is stealing business by confusing consumers and perhaps hurting the company’s reputation with inferior products. Companies may protect their brands zealously, such as when Coca-Cola forced a small café in a remote town in Yunnan Province, China, to change its name from Coca-Cola Café. Companies also attempt to associate themselves with a more famous brand by using a similar logo, colors, or name, such as the cheap electronics maker Coby, whose font is similar to Sony’s, and the Northeast-based, urban fast-food chain Kennedy Fried Chicken. Protecting a brand is not only about enforcing intellectual property. As much as 70 percent of a company’s value may be in its brand rather than in its physical property, such as factories and products. Table 9-1 shows the estimated brand valuation of some major companies. “Buying the brand” can be a strong incentive in company mergers. Branding is important to individuals as well, says personal-branding guru Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success. According to Schawbel and dozens of leading technology thinkers he has interviewed, creating a strong personal brand will help define and differentiate the new employee from the competition. Brands will become even more important in the digital age, especially in media industries.


In 2014, a federal appeals court upheld a decision in favor of 5-hour Energy for trademark infringement. 6 Hour Energy Shot (note this brand does not use hyphens in their name) has since been rebranded and relabeled as 6 Hour Power.

  Top Six U.S. Companies by Brand Valuations

table 9-1
















Source: “Best Global Brands, 2014,” Interbrand, 2014, accessed June 10, 2015,

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Celebrities fiercely guard their brands, likenesses, and even their names from infringement by others. In 2008, Curtis Jackson—aka 50 Cent—sued Taco Bell for using his stage name, a registered trademark, to promote its value menu. In 2014, an Indiana corporation that owns the likeness rights and other intellectual property related to the James Dean estate sued Twitter for allowing a user to create the account @James Dean without their permission. Keeping Up with the Kardashians sisters Kendall and Kylie have filed to protect “Kendall and Kylie,” as well as “Kendall & Kylie.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Consider both a familiar and an unfamiliar industry or category (e.g., cars, entertainment companies, airlines, hotels). Name three brands within each category. How did you become familiar with the brand, through direct use or only through advertising?


MMORPG, FPS—and IGA In-game advertising (IGA) has been growing rapidly, both in dollars spent by advertisers and in the volume of ads themselves. IGA, advertising that occurs inside either online or stand-alone video games for desktop or mobile devices, is distinct from advergaming, games produced only to advertise a product. In-game advertising debuted in 1978 in Adventureland, which included an ad, in essence a product placement, for the company’s next game, Pirate Adventure. In 1991, Penguin biscuits inserted the first commercially sponsored IGA for its product in James Pond: CodenameRoboCod. IGAs can be static or dynamic. A static ad is typically shown as a display in the background, much like an in-game billboard. For example, an Adidas billboard appears in FIFA International Soccer. It might also appear during a pause in game play while a game is loading. If a static IGA is integrated deeply, the player may have to view or interact with the ad to complete the game. Static IGAs cannot be changed once a game is produced and distributed. As the popularity of online games has grown, so has the placement of dynamic IGAs. Advertisers can update these ads remotely, inserting newer versions over time. Such IGAs can be tied to specific campaigns or marketing offers. President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign inserted dynamic IGAs in several Xbox games. Some companies offer free versions of games with IGAs, such as Age of Conan, whose embedded enticements lure gamers to purchase the premium version. Mobile games

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have increased not only the prevalence of IGA but greatly added to game and in-app purchases as well. Research suggests IGAs have mixed value. A 2009 study showed that 80 percent of gamers could correctly recall a product advertised in IGAs, and 56 percent viewed advertisers favorably if an IGA allowed them to play for free.7 A 2010 study indicated that only 36 percent of gamers could correctly identify products promoted in IGAs in car-racing games.8 Most gamers dislike IGAs that distract them from game play itself.9

Ads for the candy company Chupa Chups appear in the background of the video game Zool.

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SELLING PRODUCTS, SELLING IDEAS Advertising techniques such as branding can sell more than products or services; they can sell images, ideas, political candidates, or lifestyles. Social marketing applies the lessons learned from years of advertising activities and theories of persuasive communications to encourage the public to transform behaviors positively through public information campaigns. Efforts to change attitudes can be an uphill battle, however. First, behaviors that social marketers seek to change, such as drinking or smoking, often involve powerful physical addictions or psychological perceptions (teens may think it’s cool to drink or smoke). Second, determining which advertising channels and types of messages will be most effective for the targeted group can be difficult. Third, ethical questions sometimes arise when it comes to which group is deciding what exactly constitutes a “pro-social” message and why other groups may not be targeted. Finally, assessing the success of a social-marketing campaign is problematic, for its effects will generally not be immediately seen, and larger sociocultural forces may influence how the target audience interprets the message. Some social-marketing campaigns will use fear appeals to shock people into changing behavior. Television ads, for example, feature smokers who have had surgery for throat or mouth cancer or show graphic images of automobile accidents caused by drunk driving. Fear appeals can be tricky, however. Graphic images may offend some while not being effective for young people who think “that will never happen to me.” An effective social-marketing campaign for the National Crime Prevention Council used the tagline “Take a bite out of crime” and featured a cartoon dog, McGruff, dressed as a detective. A series of public service announcements (PSAs) covering a range of crime-related issues were widely aired on different media channels. Various surveys indicated a high awareness of the campaign and its anticrime points by adults and children, accompanied by a rise in crime-prevention measures like special locks on doors and windows and security lights. Today, a digital McGruff offers advice on an interactive website, online safety games, and videos about how to use the Internet safely, not to mention an app to help parents safeguard their children’s Internet activity, including social media filters. Ironically, the actor who played McGruff the Crime Dog evidently did not learn much from his character. In 2014, he was sentenced to sixteen years in federal prison for drug and weapons charges. Nevertheless, the uncorrupted animated version of the crimefighting canine, who celebrated his 35th birthday in 2015, lives on online. Social-marketing campaigns play an important role in educating people in developed and developing countries about a range of issues to prevent disease and to raise the general standard of living, including safe sex and proper sanitizing techniques to ensure clean water and untainted food. Because of high illiteracy rates and limited access to mass media in some regions, such campaigns must use visual symbols in powerful yet easily understood ways.

  social marketing Advertising and marketing techniques that persuade people to change bad or destructive behaviors or adopt good behaviors.

  public information campaign Media program funded by the government and designed to achieve some social goal.

  fear appeal Advertising technique that attempts to persuade the audience by scaring them, such as antismoking ads that show disfigured former smokers.

  public service announcement (PSA) Advertising-like message from an organization with a worthy purpose that ostensibly benefits the public and for which the media donate time or space.

ADVERTISING CHANNELS Advertising takes a variety of media formats or channels, including some important types that we may not normally consider mass communications.

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Creating persuasive messages can be especially difficult in countries with low literacy rates.

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  classified advertising Advertising traditionally found in print media, especially newspapers but also in some magazines and now increasingly online, that consists of messages posted by individuals and organizations to sell specific goods or services.

  display advertising Advertising in print media that usually consists of illustrations or images and text that can occupy a small section of a page, a full page, or multiple pages.

  rate card List of advertising rates by size, placement, and other characteristics, such as whether ads are black and white or full color. Frequency discounts are also usually offered, and the listed rates are usually negotiable, especially for large advertisers.

  advertorial Display advertisement created to look like an article within the publication, although most publications have the words “advertisement” or “paid advertisement” in tiny print somewhere nearby.

  subliminal advertising Persuasive messages that have supposedly unconscious effects on the audience, such as an image or word flashed almost imperceptibly on a screen.

  product placement A form of advertising in which brand-name goods or services are placed prominently within programming or movie content that is otherwise devoid of advertising, demonstrating the convergence of programming with advertising content.

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Each channel has certain characteristics that influence how advertising is implemented and how its effects are measured. The type of product or service being advertised helps determine which audience to target, and certain channels are more effective at reaching certain types of audiences. Here we will look at some of the traditional advertising channels, all of which are still in use, after which we will consider how online and digital advertising are changing these.

Print Media In newspapers and magazines, commercial messages come in either of two forms: classified advertising or display advertising. Classifieds appear together in a special section posted by individuals and organizations to sell specific goods or services. Because customers pay by the word or pay a rate up to a certain word limit, messages are usually short and use abbreviations. Despite their small individual size, their large numbers in most papers used to comprise a significant portion of advertising revenue. Most newspapers now put their classifieds online to compete with other online classifieds, auction sites, and discount sites such as Craigslist, eBay, Groupon, and Living Social—sites that have largely decimated the classified advertising revenues of most newspapers. Display ads are much larger, anywhere from one-eighth of a page to a full page or occasionally foldouts with multiple pages. They often contain images or other graphic elements that help them stand out. Costs vary by size, color, and location (back-cover placement is usually the most expensive). Publishing companies create a rate card of the various costs, which may be negotiated by those who advertise multiple times in a highly competitive market. An advertorial, a display ad created to look like an actual article in the publication, usually has tiny print on the top or the bottom of the page that says “paid advertisement.”

Electronic Media Despite decreased commercial time and fragmented audiences, advertising costs in electronic media, which can command larger audiences than print, are generally high compared to those for print media. Even large-circulation magazines of over a million readers reach a relatively small audience by network-television standards. Radio or television commercials, “spots,” typically run for thirty seconds. Infomercials are paid programming in which a product is demonstrated and promoted for purchase, often with endorsements from a celebrity or satisfied consumers, who are typically paid or otherwise compensated. Pleased “customers” are often professional actors. Subliminal advertising, a subject of controversy for some time, supposedly flashes messages or images briefly to produce an unconscious effect on the viewer. Despite no firm proof that subliminal advertising has any effect at all, it is illegal, and no advertisers have ever admitted to its use. Another way advertisers attract attention is through product placement— products displayed or used by characters in television programs or movies. Product placement has become more important since the arrival of the digital video recorder (DVR), which allows viewers to skip commercials. Critics argue that most viewers do not notice that a product is being advertised, while proponents say this is exactly what makes it an effective technique. Perhaps the most famous case of successful product placement occurred with the blockbuster movie E.T. After M&M’s refused to allow their famous candy product to be E.T.’s snack of choice,

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Chapter 9  >>  Advertising and Public Relations: The Power of Persuasion


Product placement has become a more widely used advertising technique since the arrival of the DVR, which allows viewers to skip commercials.

filmmakers opted for Reese’s Pieces, a new candy whose sales shot up as the film became a global hit.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: In the first report about subliminal advertising, a drive-in movie owner in New Jersey claimed that after flashing subliminal images of soft drinks and popcorn during a movie, sales increased. What other factors might explain the increase in sales?


  outdoor advertising Billboards and other forms of public

Outdoor advertising on billboards, taxis, buses, and bus stops, among other advertising, such as on buses or taxis. places, bombards the public. Store signs are among the oldest forms of public advertising, although their reach is limited to passersby. Even brand-name clothing effectively makes the wearer a walking advertisement—paid for by the consumer who purchased the clothing! Increasingly, municipalities are allowing corporate sponsorship of public vehicles and spaces to help shore up government budgets. Low-power video monitors with advertisements accompanied by news content appear in new public spaces, such as above cash registers and in elevators. Interactive floor-based displays in airports or malls react to activities like footsteps, creating ­interesting games that people can play and others can watch—all the while engaging with an advertisement. Interactive outdoor advertising ­ will continue to grow as technology such as face The Federal Trade Commission allows puffery in advertising, exaggerated recognition is incorporated into street-level ­ advertising claims that “reasonable” audiences would not likely perceive as facts.

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billboards, enabling the real-time display of messages customized to each passing pedestrian.

Direct Mail Direct mail marketing, commonly called “junk mail” by recipients, advertises everything from lower insurance rates to credit card offers to pleas to donate to various charities or subscribe to magazines. Some companies make it appear that you have been specially selected or won a lottery and need to send in the material ASAP to claim your prize. Many organizations rent their subscriber lists on a per-thousand basis; the more detailed the demographic data, the higher the cost. These lists become effective tools in the hands of advertisers who send targeted messages. List owners often seed them with false names to ensure that list renters are only using the list one time. Some savvy citizens use similar techniques to determine who is selling their name. Subsequent mailings in your pet’s name, for example, could help identify the culprit. Telemarketing involves phoning people at home, typically intrusive and annoying calls that many actively screen with voicemail or caller ID. These sales pitches are highly scripted, complete with prepared responses to a range of anticipated answers. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 lays out strict guidelines on the times telemarketers may call and requires companies to remove people who request such removal from call lists. Some states have implemented “Do Not Call” registries that serve the same purpose. Exempted from the act, political campaigns may contact those registered on the do-not-call list, even on their cell phones.

ADVERTISING IN A DIGITAL WORLD Traditionally, 70 percent or more of commercial-media revenues come from advertising, an economic foundation being transformed by digital technology. Advertisers have a greater capacity to track consumers and identify the most effective advertisements. They are also discovering that many traditional advertising techniques do not work well on the Web. Changes in technology and in online user behavior complicate the picture further.

Cookies   cookie Information that a website puts on a user’s local hard drive so that it can recognize when that computer accesses the website again. Cookies also allow for conveniences like password recognition and personalization.

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Web experiences, compared to other media, can be personalized for the user, a key aspect for both advertisers and media-content companies. Almost all websites leave a cookie, a small text file loaded onto a computer that identifies specific users who visit a site and where they go afterward. Cookies and Web analytics are able to tell what page someone came from before arriving at a page with an ad and how long the person spent on that page. They can “remember” visitors who return and can determine their computer operating system, their Web browser and, often, their approximate location. Cookies not inserted by the content provider are called third-party cookies, like those advertisers place in ads. These cookies can both track and customize advertising messages as well as engage in “cookie pricing.” Travel sites, for instance, will sometimes nudge up ticket prices if a pattern of browsing behavior reveals a traveler highly motivated to get a particular route. Cookies are just one

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of the new, unique advertising techniques. Still, some of the “old” digital media remain remarkably effective.

Email Marketing Until the rise of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, email was the most used application on the Internet; and despite spam, it continues to be an incredibly powerful tool for advertising. Like direct mail, email can reach highly targeted audiences who, better yet, have the choice to opt in to receive emails, showing their willingness to hear from certain companies. Email also has the advantage of being cheap to produce and send, especially if the message is text only, without any design or graphics. Free email advertisements are also lucrative for the companies that offer this service, such as Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and Gmail. Google uses software that scans each email sent via Gmail, analyzes the text, and inserts ads it deems most relevant to the topic.

  opt in When consumers choose to receive mailings or marketing material, usually by checking a box on a website when registering for the site.

Banner Ads In the early days of the Web, most online advertising tended to follow the traditional advertising formats—particularly the display-ad model commonly found in print. Banner advertising, online ads spanning the top of a page like a banner, could be clicked on to visit the advertiser’s website. Today, there are a variety of shapes and sizes of banner ads, including tower ads that take advantage of the tendency for users to scroll down. Such ads may also contain interactive quizzes, video, or other animation. Studies tracking consumers online, however, indicate that banner ads have a very low click-through rate (CTR), meaning a low percentage of users—in this case, an average of 0.06 percent—actually click on them. These disappointing numbers caused advertisers to doubt their effectiveness and seemed to stall the budding online ad industry.

  click-through rate (CTR) Rate at which people click on an online advertisement to access more information.

Pop-Ups and Video Initially viewed as the salvation for online advertising, pop-ups can be interstitial ads or superstitial ads. Interstitial ads have proven unpopular because users must close the ad browser window to see the website they originally wanted. To get around this, some ads take up most of a page rather than the whole screen. Perceived as less obtrusive, superstitial ads have become more widespread. These ads crawl across a screen or appear in a corner and can be created with a variety of multimedia programs and effects. Ads in videos have grown quickly in recent years. It became clear that online users did not want to watch a standard thirty-second commercial before a short video, so online videos tend to be ten or fifteen seconds at most and sometimes give users the option to click off the ad after only five seconds. Sites such as ­YouTube have tried overlays at the bottom of screens, like those that promote ­upcoming shows on network television, and these have also made their way to mobile apps.

  interstitial ad Online advertisement that opens in a new window from the one the user was in.

  superstitial ad Online advertisement that covers part of the existing screen or moves over part of it without opening a new window.

Classifieds and Auction Sites Online classifieds have been able to take a large chunk of newspaper revenue ­because they offer several advantages. First, there is little or no need to squeeze text to fit within some predefined word and cost limit. Second, geographic

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limitations are no longer an issue as long as what is being advertised can be shipped or mailed. This vastly increases the potential audience. Craigslist and other online classifieds websites have been immensely successful for many traditional businesses as well as for small entrepreneurs, who can generate national or international business online with very little overhead or infrastructure cost. Auction sites have also become popular for many of the same reasons, starting with eBay, founded in 1995. Seller rating and review systems, easy online payment methods, and a high volume of sellers and buyers have created a thriving marketplace, especially useful for A human assists the computer algorithm “comparison engine” at FindTheBest, a small businesses or those working from home. privately held research company that allows users to research, filter, and compare more than 2,000 topics. Many unusual items have come up for sale on eBay, including the case of a British man who in 2008 put his entire life—worldly possessions, job, and even friends—up for sale after a bitter divorce. The winning bid was about $380,000, considerably short of what he was asking.10

Search-Engine Ads Advertising with popular search-engine sites such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! has become one of the most important vehicles for advertisers in recent years. The two main methods of search-engine advertising—search-engine optimization (SEO) and search-engine marketing (SEM)—are unpaid and paid forms of advertising, respectively, yet their goal is the same: to appear as the first entry in a search-­ engine search. SEO techniques involve website design, keywords, and links. SEM advertisers either pay a search-engine company for a sponsored link, usually clearly labeled as such (with a colored panel or the words “sponsored links”), or buy keywords sold at auction, paying the search-engine company a set amount every time its site is clicked on when that search term is used. These search engines and other digital media utilize algorithms or computer programs to aid in rapidly targeting ads, tracking consumer online behavior, and more, although a human assistant often makes the process more nuanced.11

Mobile Advertising The dramatic growth of mobile media since 2000 has altered the advertising landscape fundamentally. The volume of text messaging, especially among the young, exceeds that of voice calls. With an estimated 2 billion smartphone users worldwide by 2016 and 1 billion tablet users worldwide by the end of 2015, mobile has emerged as a powerful new advertising channel. Facebook has been especially successful at inserting mobile ads between entries on newsfeeds that get users’ attention without annoying them.12 Google announced in mid-2015 that it had changed its search-engine algorithms so that mobile-friendly websites would show up higher in the rankings.

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Five trends characterize the mobile advertising marketplace. First, the g­ eo-location capability of mobile technology increasingly enables advertisers to customize messages to the consumer’s location. Second, mcommerce, or mobile commerce, is growing rapidly and targeting consumers with real-time messages updated to their current mobile purchases. Consumers out shopping, for instance, use their mobile device to aid in comparative shopping and even price bargaining. Third, real-time mobile billing (RTB) is facilitating a new advertising pricing system optimized by mobile demand. Fourth, as mobile broadband access rises, video ads gain traction even on mobile devices. Fifth, ads tied to in-app downloads such as mobile games have increased greatly, with consumers seemingly willing to accept ads for free apps.

Behavioral Advertising Behavioral advertising tracks user behavior and then inserts banner ads on similar topics on subsequent websites visited, which is why, after shopping for items on a site like Amazon, you start to see ads for the products you looked at on websites you visit later. Advertisers claim it offers users more relevant Web ads, but many consider this an invasion of privacy. Although the behavioral advertising industry has outlined various principles and procedures in attempts to self-regulate, consumer groups and the government have found fault with this rapidly expanding area of advertising. Some companies do not stop tracking online users even after they have opted out. Another problem has been the use of Flash cookies that secretly reinsert a cookie even after the user has cleared her computer of all cookies. Coming years will likely see tensions increase between advertisers and government and consumer watchdog groups regarding best practices and consumer safeguards.

  viral marketing Promoting a product, service, or brand online through word of mouth, usually via online discussion groups, chats, and emails.

Viral Marketing Some of the most successful advertising online is unaided by advertising agencies or expensive marketing campaigns. Viral marketing, sometimes called buzz marketing, guerrilla marketing, or word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing, promotes a product, service, or brand through natural online channels; people spread a message because they want to, not because they are being paid to. Humorous or strange videos often work best for this; but such videos, whose appeal is often their unpolished, amateurish quality, are not always a good fit for all brands. Predicting content that will actually go viral is difficult. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, in which people challenged three friends to video themselves dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads, or donate to the ALS Association, became wildly and unexpectedly popular in the summer of 2014, especially in the United States. According to the ALS Association, it received over $100 million in July alone, and several other ALS organizations also saw large increases in donations during the latter half of the year.

Native Advertising One of the largest growth areas in advertising for online publications is native advertising of several different but related types, including sponsored posts on Facebook or Twitter. Basically, native advertising (sometimes called content marketing) is the online version of the print advertorial. In other words, the editorial

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became wildly popular on social media in the late summer of 2014. CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS: ALS recently managed to raise a significant sum of money through donations, but do you know what ALS stands for or what its symptoms are? Have you followed any progress in research on ALS since then? Do you consider the Ice Bucket Challenge a success?

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staff of the site or a marketer produces advertising content made to appear like actual content within the publication. One type of native advertising is indicated by the small “sponsored by” or “promoted by” tags in pieces that usually have attention-getting headlines about celebrities or odd news events. Many large online publications have adopted some form of native advertising, including The New York Times, Time, Forbes, and The Atlantic. In 2013, The Atlantic was rebuked for how it handled a self-congratulatory piece sponsored by the Church of Scientology. The article itself was of poor quality, and The Atlantic later admitted to also deleting negative user comments it elicited.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Consider articles on sites or suggested posts you may have clicked on in Facebook or other social media. How many of these did you recognize as sponsored content, or did you care? What are the dangers of blurring the lines between editorial and advertising content?

THE ADVERTISING BUSINESS Worldwide ad spending for 2015 is estimated to be $578 billion, up from $546 billion in 2014, according to eMarketer.13 Table 9-2 estimates advertising spending by medium to 2015. According to this forecast, in 2015, television still sits atop the media food chain, with about 40 percent of total ad dollars. Since 2011, TV’s share of ad dollars remains relatively constant, while the relative position of the other media shift significantly. Newspapers see their relative share decline by

 Share of Global Advertising Expenditure (%)

Table 9-2

















































Source: ZenithOptimedia, Advertising Expenditure Forecasts, September 2015

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some 20 percent, from 20.3 percent in 2011 to less than 16 percent in 2015; and magazines by some 25 percent, from 9.4 percent in 2011 to 7.3 percent in 2015. Radio dips almost 10 percent, from 7.1 percent in 2011 to 6.6 percent in 2015. Outdoor drops about 5 percent, from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent between 2011 and 2015. Bucking the downward trend is cinema (ads that run before a movie starts), which sees a 20 percent increase, from 0.5 percent to 0.6 percent between 2011 and 2015. The big winner, however, is Internet advertising, which grows more than 45 percent between 2011 and 2015, from 16.1 percent to 23.4 percent of global advertising spending. Spending on Internet advertising is today greater than newspaper advertising spending and greater than outdoor, cinema, radio, and magazine ad spending combined. Internet ad spending, including $42.6 billion worldwide for mobile ($18.9 billion in the United States), continues to rise, and industry experts believe it still has lots of room for rapid growth. Although advertisers are of course looking to advertise across media or channels, the fact is that an increase in ad spending in one medium, such as the Internet, generally means a decrease elsewhere, such as in newspapers. This has made it especially challenging for the main player in the advertising world today, the advertising agency.

ADVERTISING AGENCIES Advertising agencies perform many important functions, creating and selling advertising while linking various media with the many companies seeking to sell a product or service. The more than five hundred advertising agencies in the United States, which collectively employ more than seventy thousand people, have four main areas of operation: 1. Creative: copywriters and creative and art directors producing advertising

content 2. Client management: account executives working with clients 3. Media buying: media planners and buyers determining and purchasing

media time or space, the area that has traditionally produced agency revenues 4. Research: researchers collecting and analyzing media data on consumer

characteristics and purchase behaviors A number of Internet-original firms emerged in the late 1990s. Some have survived as boutique or specialized firms, but many have been bought by larger agencies for their interactive expertise. This follows the trend toward consolidation seen with traditional advertising agencies that still dominate the field. Today, much larger advertising and media-services companies own most of the world’s leading advertising agencies, and ninety of the top one hundred firms have ­international operations. Most of these firms operate both advertising and public relations enterprises. These full-service companies handle all aspects of the communications business, from campaign planning to creative execution and media buying. Table 9-3 presents data on the world’s five largest advertising and media-­ services firms, ranked by their estimated revenue in 2014, and some of their biggest advertising and public relations subsidiaries, which are themselves often

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Hair-Raising Subway Billboard Ad Gets Noticed Subway commuters in most major cities take the plethora of billboards on walls and platforms for granted, perhaps making a mental note of an upcoming film they’d like to see but, for the most part, ignoring the ads. To help a billboard ad stand out from the crowd, advertisers have been incorporating interactive techno­ logies to draw greater attention to otherwise static billboards. One notable example ­occurred in Stockholm, Sweden, where the pharmacy brand Apotek equipped

platform billboards to sense when trains were approaching the platform (for commuters on the platform, the wind coming before the train alerts them to an arrival). The image on the billboard was a photo of a young woman with a full head of hair. As the train approached and the wind kicked up, the model’s hair suddenly started to blow around wildly, seemingly in response to the train. Then the words “Make your hair come alive” and the brand name came on screen. The ad, which can be seen on YouTube, garnered international attention— along with surprise from commuters who suddenly saw a billboard with a moving image. Later in the year a similar ad appeared on Stockholm’s subway platforms, except this time instead, the wind blew off a wig off the model, revealing her bald head. This ad for a cancer charity was also a successful attention getter. Different kinds of interactive billboards can be used to far different effect. A 2013 ad for The Curse of Chucky looked much like any other film poster at a bus stop in Brazil until the lights began to flicker and Chucky smashed through the fake glass of the poster box wielding a fake knife. The terrified occupants of the bus stop, however, appeared not to immediately comprehend that they had suddenly become part of an outrageous publicity stunt and were being chased not by the world’s most deviant doll but by a small actor made up as Chucky. All the horror, both scripted and apparently genuine, was recorded, of course, and can still be seen on YouTube. As if simply waiting at a bus stop at night isn’t creepy enough.

global operations. In 2013, Omnicom and Publicis planned to merge to form the world’s largest advertising agency, but nearly a year later the deal was abruptly called off. Tokyo-based Dentsu, although a global player in terms of size, is typically not considered one of the “big four” of advertising agencies, as it focuses primarily on Japan, where it dominates the advertising industry.

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  World’s Five Largest Advertising and Media-Services Companies





London, United Kingdom


Netherlands, operational offices in New York, United States, and Paris, France


Paris, France


New York, United States


Tokyo, Japan



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Public Relations Just as advertising agencies straddle the advertising and media worlds, public relations firms straddle the worlds of companies wishing to enhance their reputations and of media organizations that can widely distribute company messages and publicity. Unlike advertisers, however, public relations agencies do not pay media companies to place content. Rather, these professionals attempt to persuade important gatekeepers, such as editors, journalists, or influential bloggers, that information about their client is sufficiently newsworthy to be published or broadcast. Advertising for children’s toys often perpetuates gender stereotypes and promotes unrealistic lifestyles and body images. A recent analysis of Barbie’s proportions revealed Public relations firms are ideally posithe world’s best-selling doll to be anatomically impossible. tioned to understand some of the new interactive dynamics in today’s world of ­ social media. Increasingly, these firms, while seeking to mitigate negative news and promote positive information, help companies navigate social media and provide guidance on policies such as having a Facebook page, creating a YouTube channel, and talking with consumers on fan pages or Twitter. Some have dubbed this new, more interactive public relations PR 2.0. To many journalists, PR is a necessary evil. To others, it’s just plain evil. Nevertheless, journalists rely heavily on the information PR firms provide for stories. Public relations is a vital part of the three-way relationship among the media, organizations, and the public, including employees, consumers, shareholders, activists (who might oppose certain corporate policies), and regulators. Edward L. Bernays, the late father of modern public relations, used to say that propaganda was better than “impropaganda.” The same might be said of public relations. It all depends on how it’s done. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Consider the concept of reputation for companies. How would you define reputation and how do you think it could be measured and given some sort of monetary value? Are there similarities between the concept of reputation with humans and with companies?

THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Modern public relations has evolved rapidly and in unique ways, informed by the rise of mass communications and technological advances. Some say PR is the world’s second-oldest profession. But it was not recognized as a separate activity until the early twentieth century when a number of publishing activities began to be categorized discretely as either journalism or public relations. Thomas Paine’s influential pro-Revolution pamphlets in the 1770s, such as Common Sense, and the sympathetic newspaper pieces on the Boston Massacre, for example, would be considered public relations or even propaganda by today’s standards rather than journalism. The first stage of public relations occurred during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Getting publicity in the press (or other media) for a client was

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a central practice in age of press agentry. As newspapers developed into a form of mass communication, publicity as part of a news story meant increased exposure for a product or a company without needing to pay for an advertisement. Press agentry flourished as practiced by Phineas Taylor “P. T.” Barnum, who entered the world of promotion, press manipulation, and show business in the 1830s, creating the famous American circus in 1870. A great showman, Barnum used various techniques to communicate with the public. His staged events, publicity stunts to attract attention, were particularly successful. Although the term “public relations” had not yet been coined, former journalist Ivy Ledbetter Lee was perhaps its first true modern practitioner. (Muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle, called Lee “Poison Ivy.”) A master of managing the press, Lee once observed, “Crowds are led by symbols and phrases.” Many of his innovations became staples of modern public relations practice, including press conferences and newsreels, known today as video news releases (VNRs), where PR firms provide video footage for television stations to use in their news broadcasts. One of Lee’s most visible clients was John D. Rockefeller Sr., the founder of the Standard Oil Trust and the world’s first billionaire, who managed his companies and employees ruthlessly, even by the standards of the day. After Rockefeller had the Colorado state militia put down a miners’ strike, resulting in dozens of deaths, Lee produced reports stating that an overturned stove had started a house fire that killed dozens of women and children. Lee was also behind the photographs and newsreels of Rockefeller handing out dimes to poor children wherever he went. So legendary was his ability to manipulate the media, that in the early 1930s, the Nazis hired Lee to present a more favorable face for the “New G ­ ermany” in the United States.14 Press agentry was known for special events and publicity stunts. In 1928, debutantes were invited to march in the Easter Parade in New York City, holding their “torches of freedom”—that is, lit cigarettes. This performance was intended to attract media attention and build support for women smoking in public at a time when society frowned on it. The American Tobacco Company, manufacturer of Lucky Strike cigarettes, sponsored the event, created by a man many consider the founder of modern public relations, Edward L. Bernays. Edward L. Bernays managed some of the earliest and most famous PR ­campaigns of the twentieth century. He trained during World War I as a member of the Foreign Press Bureau of the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), essentially the propaganda arm of the U.S. government. Bernays often dined with his famous uncle, Sigmund Freud, whose theories he mastered and whose first English-language translations he produced. After the war, Bernays applied the principles of both Freudian psychology and social science, a then-budding field, to the strategic influence and shaping of public opinion. His book The Engineering of Consent, a collection of essays by him and associates on the theory and practice of public relations, became a classic. Arthur W. Page was the vice president of public relations for AT&T from 1927 to 1946, the first PR person on the board of a major public corporation. He also served on many boards of charities and other organizations. Page helped create ethical guidelines for public relations with his Page Principles, such as “tell the truth,” “prove it with action,” and “listen to the customer.” Today, the Arthur W. Page Society continues his work through various educational programs, networking events, forums for PR executives, and sponsored PR research initiatives.

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  press agentry Getting media attention for a client, often by creating outrageous stunts to attract journalists.

General Tom Thumb achieved widespread fame as a performer with master showman P. T. Barnum.

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Doris E. Fleischman Much has been written about Edward L. Bernays, celebrated as the father of public relations in eulogies upon his death at the age of 103 in 1995. Much less, however, has been published about his wife, Doris E. Fleischman, despite her status as an equal partner in their storied PR firm, whose clients included President Calvin Coolidge, Procter & Gamble, ­General Electric, the U.S. War Department, the American Tobacco Company, and Sigmund Freud, Bernays’s uncle. Although integral to their joint enterprise, her role was played largely behind the scenes, while her husband remained the face and principal name of the business, the man who worked in person with their clients, even on campaigns she had developed or press releases and speeches she had ghostwritten. Whereas many of her pioneering PR achievements went unnoticed at the time, her earlier feminist activities did not, some even garnering widespread newspaper headlines. She and her husband were members of the Lucy Stone League, a civil rights organization founded in 1921 dedicated to promoting the legal use of a woman’s maiden name, a radical initiative for the time. In September, 1922, the newlyweds checked into their hotel as Bernays and Fleischman, a first for the Waldorf Astoria register.15 Three years later, she became the first married woman ever issued a U.S. passport in her birth name. Young Doris seemed poised to accomplish great things in an era that did not always encourage greatness from

women in the public sphere. She received a BA (1913) from Barnard College, where she won varsity letters in softball, basketball, and tennis while a member of Theta Sigma Phi, the ­national sorority of women in communications. She subsequently worked at the New York Tribune as a reporter and an editor for the women's pages and the Sunday edition. Among her more notable assignments were an interview with Theodore Roosevelt and—another first for a woman—covering a prizefight, albeit accompanied by her father, who feared for her safety. Her writings frequently considered the challenges women of her day faced in their domestic and professional lives, a balancing act also suggested by the title of her memoir, “A Wife Is Many Women.” Her essay “Notes of a Retiring Feminist” implies that these tensions, acute for many early feminists, were never fully resolved: “Mrs. stands to the right of me, and Miss stands to the left. Me is a ghost ego nowhere in the middle.” For pragmatic reasons later in life, Fleischman, weary of having to explain herself, increasingly adopted the use of Bernays.


  two-way symmetric model Model of public relations that emphasizes the profession as a system of managing relationships among organizations, individuals, and their many publics.

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One continuing trend as public relations has developed as a profession is establishing a dialog with the public, no longer considered a mute and passive mass audience. In the earliest forms of PR during much of the nineteenth century, communication was largely asymmetric, from the public relations agent through the media to the audience. Audience feedback was not sought. In the early twentieth century, a limited symmetric model of communications was espoused, with the public providing feedback on the efficacy of a campaign. Although this appeared superficially to be dialog, PR representatives still controlled the flow of communications. Many of the principles espoused by Page and since adopted by most firms belong to a two-way symmetric model of public relations, articulated by pioneering PR educator James E. Grunig. This model emphasizes public relations as a system of managing relationships among organizations and individuals and their many publics, internal and external. Mass communication and social media are

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Chapter 9  >>  Advertising and Public Relations: The Power of Persuasion


key, and building mutual understanding and good relationships is emphasized as much as influencing public opinion. Research shows that organizational excellence (as defined in terms of accomplishing both short- and long-term objectives) can be achieved with a two-way symmetric model that incorporates the public relations function into senior management and organizational decision making. The two-way symmetric model formally and informally assesses the attitudes, knowledge, behaviors, and intentions of various publics or stakeholders, and it also places a premium on the ethical practice of public relations. One of the best examples remains Johnson & Johnson’s handling of the infamous Tylenol tampering case in 1982, when seven people died of cyanide poisoning from tainted Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules. After the first reported poisoning in the Chicago, Illinois, area, Johnson & Johnson took immediate steps to prevent further tragedy while maintaining clear and open lines of communication with both the media and the public. Along with its parent, McNeil Consumer Products Company, it offered a $100,000 reward, established a hotline, and opened regional poison-control centers to dispense information and assistance. After a nationwide recall of all Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules, at a cost of some $100 million to remove and destroy all 31 million bottles, in January 1983, the capsules were successfully reintroduced with a triple-sealed, tamper-resistant packaging warning. Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Consumer Products Co. were cleared of any legal liability, although in 1991, they provided the victims’ families with an undisclosed settlement, estimated to be as much as $50 million. Despite the tragedy, Tylenol sales recovered. Journalists often criticize companies in crisis for hiding information from the press and the public, but Johnson & Johnson was praised for its open and immediate responses. “The public relations people were knowledgeable and available when the media needed to talk to them,” said John O’Brien of the Chicago Tribune. “They didn’t try to sugar-coat anything.” Citizens have been empowered to engage in two-way or multidirectional communication with organizations and their stakeholders, and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere have nurtured a more organic form of participatory public relations. Launched in 2000, the American Legacy Foundation’s national “Truth” campaign, engages the public in an antismoking dialog with edgy mass media messages and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.16 One study found that smoking rates among teens in Florida dropped significantly as a result of the Truth campaign, with only 6.6 percent of Florida teens reporting smoking in the previous thirty days as compared to the national average of 14.4 percent.17

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: If you were running a PR firm, would you accept a company that makes harmful products, such as tobacco, as a client? What about a political group known for its extreme views? Explain your decisions.

PR AND MEDIA RELATIONS Although public relations professionals engage in a wide range of activities, they typically devote most of their time to the media, including journalists, producers, and others responsible for content. Developing and maintaining these working

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relationships increases the possibility of obtaining fair or positive coverage of their organizations. When a negative story does occur, the PR professional should be able to communicate clearly and responsibly with the media, and several important tools in the PR toolbox aid in the pursuit of desired media coverage.

Pseudo-Events “The Donald” first announced that he might run for president in 1988, a possibility he tantalized the press with again in the 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 election cycles. “The only one who can make America truly great again” (his words), he finally made it official for 2016, and even his earlier pseudoevents succeeded in making national and international headlines.

One of the most enduring legacies from the early days of modern public relations is the pseudo-event, manufactured by individuals or organizations to capture the attention of the media and consequently the public. Press conferences, protests, parades, and even award ceremonies are all pseudo-events, arguably forms of media manipulation on which the media have become dependent. In fact, as much as 75 percent of news content in even the nation’s best newspapers, such as the Washington Post, is in some way influenced by pseudo-events. Only occasionally is a story generated through pure enterprise or original reporting without public relations influence.18

Distributing News to the Media in the Digital Age

  pitch Request to review a client’s new product or do a story about the client or the product.

An important development in media relations is the distribution of corporate or other organizational news, information, and data (whether statistical or multimedia, including audio and video) through news releases or press releases. Formerly typed stories sent through the mail, these are now primarily emailed or posted directly to the Web. Given that influential bloggers and others using social media may be as important as professional journalists in terms of reaching audiences, a press release at times is not even needed. Rather, a well-placed pitch, a request to review a client’s new product, may be enough to get people writing about it and then get mainstream media attention.

Finding Sources Online Similar to classified advertising, expert-source clearinghouses that have enhanced the media–PR relationship over the years continue to thrive on the Web, which allows highly efficient targeting of communications and searching. The Yearbook of Experts, Authorities & Spokespersons is now available online, greatly facilitating, especially when on deadline, such identifications. Perhaps the largest of these clearinghouses is ProfNet, an online service that connects more than 14,000 news and information officers at colleges and universities, businesses, research centers, medical centers, not-for-profits, and public relations agencies with journalists and bloggers around the world.


Press kits have transitioned from analog to digital multimedia, enabling journalists, bloggers, and other content creators to tell stories interactively.

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Like other American industries, the business of public relations is tied to the general economy. Financial difficulties have caused companies to cut back on advertising and PR, even though this is arguably when they most need such services. In public relations, revenues are based on a combination of sources: primarily fees for consulting and services; income from specialized communications services such as research, interactive communications, and employee communications; and markups for production services and other media materials. In the 1990s, public relations firms consolidated, but acquisition slowed considerably in the early years of the twenty-first century. Most acquisitions still

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Chapter 9  >>  Advertising and Public Relations: The Power of Persuasion


occurred internationally among European holding companies such as Incepta Group, Havas, Publicis Groupe, and Cordiant. Omnicom is the one major U.S. ­communications firm that acquired several technology firms for its subsidiary Fleishman-Hillard. Although most organizations of any size maintain their own internal PR units, many hire firms to aid their efforts with more specialized services. Media relations during campaigns or crises can be extremely complex, requiring extensive experience with local, national, and global media. PR firms are organized into three main areas: 1. Core practice areas: stakeholder relationships the client needs managed, in-

cluding marketing communications or consumer relations; investor relations; public, not-for-profit, and governmental affairs; corporate and employee communications; political communications; and community relations 2. Services: activities the firm provides for clients, including media relations,

research, interactive or online communications, writing, lobbying, fundraising, and crisis management 3. Industries: business sectors within which the clients operate, including

utilities, technology, retail, manufacturing, health care, financial services, and consumer products Many firms specialize in one or more core practice areas, services, or industries. This enables them to focus resources yet achieve sufficient expertise to serve clients operating on a national or global scale. Most of the larger PR firms offer integrated communication programs (sometimes called integrated marketing communications), a comprehensive set of communication management services, including both public relations and advertising activities. Table 9-4 provides data on the top five independent U.S. public relations firms according to total worldwide revenues for 2014. Some of the PR firms that are part

  Top Five Independent Public Relations Firms

Table 9-4







Washington, DC




Bellevue, Washington




San Francisco, California




New York, New York





New York, New York


Source: O’Dwyer’s PR Firms Database, 2015, accessed June 12, 2015, Used with permission of Jack O’Dwyer, Publisher, O’Dwyer Co.

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of the larger agencies include WPP’s Hill & Knowlton (approximately $384 million) and Omnicom Group’s Fleishman Hillard (approximately $605 million), Ketchum (approximately $505 million), and Porter Novelli (approximately $126 million).19 These PR agencies are all bigger than any of the independent PR firms except for Edelman. Founded in 1952 by former journalist Daniel Edelman, his firm, now run by his son Richard, has more than 5,000 employees in 65 cities.

Changing Trends in Advertising and PR   integrated communications All channels of communication about a company or brand working together to create a cohesive message.

Clearly, the professional divisions between advertising and PR are blurring. In the analog age, PR practitioners, unconcerned with brand strategy or other aspects of advertising, dealt primarily with media relations. But today, PR and advertising professionals have to know what the other is doing to maximize the effectiveness of campaigns. Integrated communications try to determine the best ways to manage a brand’s image across media channels while learning what the public is saying


Fooling Most of the People Most of the Time . . . Digitally Online shoppers increasingly rely on reviews on websites such as Amazon, Yelp, and TripAdvisor for information about new books, hotels, restaurants, and much more. But how trustworthy are these sources of information? Increasing evidence suggests that many people writing these reviews are in fact paid $5 to $10 to write favorable appraisals by the companies and products being evaluated.20 Following are two reviews from a Cornell study designed to help ferret out fabricated reviews from honest ones. One is genuine, the other fake. Can you tell which is which? 1. I have stayed at many hotels traveling for both business and pleasure, and I can honestly say that The James is tops. The service at the hotel is first class. The rooms are modern and very comfortable. The location is perfect, within walking distance to all of the great sights and restaurants. Highly recommend to both business travelers and couples. 2. My husband and I stayed at the James Chicago Hotel for our anniversary. This place is fantastic! We knew as soon as we arrived we made the right choice! The rooms are

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BEAUTIFUL and the staff very attentive and wonderful!! The area of the hotel is great, since I love to shop—I couldn’t ask for more!! We will definitely be back to Chicago and we will for sure be back to the James Chicago.21 Don’t feel bad if you couldn’t tell the real review from the fake one; neither could most people in the study. (Review #2 is the phony one.)

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Chapter 9  >>  Advertising and Public Relations: The Power of Persuasion


about the brand through blogs, websites, and other social media, called social media listening. Advertising agencies are acknowledging what public relations professionals have long known—a company cannot send a message without considering audience response and what it may mean for a company’s reputation. Similarly, public relations professionals are understanding that a company or brand exists within a network of relationships and that thinking on a larger, strategic level can help them integrate their messages better to various stakeholders. Companies are learning—sometimes the hard way—that the online public demands more transparency. Attempts at deception in any manner will likely elicit a strong backlash that will hurt the brand or company. More equitable, symmetrical dialog is occurring as companies learn to talk with their clients or publics through forums, blogs, and social media, a shift from “controlling the message” to “guiding the conversation.”

figure 9-1

 Salaries for Advertising Account Managers by Experience $65,653

Entry-Level 0–5 years

$44,326 $31,073


Mid-Career 5–10 years

$52,531 $38,564


Experienced 10–20 years

$56,601 $37,277


Late-Career >20 years

$57,391 $41,372

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figure 9-2

 Salaries for Corporate PR Specialists by Experience $57,737

Entry-Level 0–5 years

$40,758 $29,029


Mid-Career 5–10 years

$50,406 $35,818


Experienced 10–20 years

$54,608 $35,372


Late-Career >20 years

$59,665 $34,786

Media Careers A wide variety of interesting and increasingly overlapping jobs exist in both advertising and PR. The trends in media production and consumption tend to favor strategic communications over fields like journalism (which has seen drastic cuts  throughout the industry), and the salaries are generally better than in journalism. Young people often find rewarding careers in a number of areas in advertising and PR, ranging from the creative side to account management to market research. Larger firms allow greater scope for changing career tracks and industry clients. Someone working in pharmaceuticals for a few years may switch to telecommunications or consumer packaged goods, starting in effect a different career in a new industry.

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Social media are creating new job opportunities in advertising agencies and PR firms as well as in large companies with internal marketing or PR departments. Keeping track of what is being said about a company and reaching influential members of the audience through social media are increasingly vital. More importantly, knowing what tool to use when, why a company or client should use (or not use) a particular social media tool such as Instagram or Twitter, is a skill companies are actively seeking. The not-for-profit sector should not be ignored when considering a job in public relations or advertising. Although salaries are generally lower than in corporations, not-for-profit foundations, charities, and research institutes need the skills of strategic communications just as much as for-profit companies, if not more so. The not-for-profit sector is often particularly focused on issues of social responsibility and benefit, although most corporate PR efforts maintain a commitment in this regard as well, especially those practicing symmetrical public relations.

LOOKING BACK AND MOVING FORWARD Although news and entertainment are the most popular media content, advertising is the most pervasive, and much editorial content and programming are inspired or influenced by public relations. Underlying advertising and PR, both forms of strategic communications, is the desire to persuade an audience to change an attitude or belief or to take some action. Persuasive communication, historically called rhetoric, has long played a role in human affairs, and today dozens of theories attempt to explain how persuasion works. As public reliance on online and mobile media grows, so does advertising on the Web and via mobile, a substantial part of total advertising spending worldwide, surpassing that of newspapers. Consumer research targeting and tracking media behavior has also increased. Technology allows for greater accountability of response rates to advertisements, and advertising agencies have been trying new types of online advertisements that link advertising with ecommerce and mcommerce better. Advertising revenues support the majority of content we see today. Advertising helps pay journalist salaries and keeps television studios operating. Historically, few people have been willing to pay the full price for the content they get largely for “free,” although this is beginning to change as increasing numbers of consumers pay for subscriptions to media or buy content for digital download. Of course, content has never been truly free. Consumers pay in the form of higher prices for goods, corporate expenses for advertising and marketing being passed on to consumers. Moreover, digital consumers are increasingly and often unwittingly “selling” their personal information online in exchange for “free” digital content. Because such costs are largely hidden from the public, the adoption of subscription-based or pay-per-use models seems less attractive by comparison. Social media will continue to greatly affect strategic-communications professionals, who must keep in mind that transparency and engagement with their

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audiences will enhance their credibility. Monitoring online conversations about companies—and, more importantly, joining those conversations—has become an imperative for advertising and public relations professionals. One thing is increasingly clear: The democratization of media and the capacity for more people than ever before to create and distribute messages makes it in some ways harder than ever to be heard. Knowing how to speak clearly above the digital din, how to persuade, how to craft powerful messages, and how to understand audiences are all requisite skills in today’s fields of advertising and public relations.


The Dynamics of Persuasion

1. If you participated in a blind taste test with your favorite brand of cola, do you think you could tell which is yours? 2. Identify the main differences and similarities between advertising and public relations. Which field would you prefer to work in and why?

viewing experience when you notice one of these products? 5. Name the five major trends in mobile advertising. Which ads do you find most effective?

3. What is the difference between SEO, SEM, and social media optimization (SMO)? Why are they important?

6. Compare the branding and advertising for a major consumer brand with that of a large nonprofit organization, noting similarities and differences. Which branding is more effective?

4. Which shows do you watch where product placement is apparent? How does it affect your

7. How does a viral video work? Identify your top five favorites and explain your selection.

FURTHER READING The Skinny on the Art of Persuasion: How to Move Minds. Jim Randel (2010) Rand Media Company. Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion. Jay Heinrichs (2007) Three Rivers Press. Ad Land: A Global History of Advertising. Mark Tungate (2007) Kogan Page. A History of Advertising. Stephane Pincas, Marc Loiseau (2008) Taschen. The Advertising Concept Book. Pete Barry (2008) Thames & Hudson. Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American Society. Michael Schudson (1987) Basic Books. Guerrilla Advertising: Unconventional Brand Communication. Gavin Lucas, Michael Dorrian (2006) Laurence King Publishers. Ogilvy on Advertising. David Ogilvy (1987) Vintage Books. The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism. Thomas Frank (1998) University of Chicago Press.

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PR! A Social History of Spin. Stuart Ewen (1996) Basic Books. The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations. Larry Tye (2002) Holt. Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age. Gini Dietrich (2014) Que Publishing. Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing. Douglas Van Praet (2014) Palgrave Macmillan Trade. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users. Guy Kawasaki, Peg Fitzpatrick (2014) Portfolio. Social Media: Usage and Impact. Hana S. Noor Al-Deen, John Allen Hendricks (eds.) (2012) ­Lexington Books. Social Media: Dominating Strategies for Social Media Marketing with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram. Michael Richards (2015) CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth. Joseph Turow (2013) Yale University Press. Return on Engagement: Content Strategy and Web Design Techniques for Digital Marketing, 2nd ed. Tim Frick, Kate Eyler-Werve (2014) Focal Press.

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CHAPTER PREVIEW 296 Ethics, Morals, and Laws 297 Major Systems of Ethical Reasoning 306 Issues in Ethical Decision Making 308 Role of Commercialism in Media Ethics 310 Ethics in Journalism 313 Ethical Issues in Advertising 315 Ethics in Public Relations 318 Ethics in Entertainment

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Media Ethics


ong famous for pop culture pieces and music criticism, Rolling Stone has more recently developed a reputation for hard-hitting, investigative reporting, articles such as the provocatively titled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA.” The 9,000word, in-depth feature, published in November 2014, described the alleged 2